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December 2020 Volume 19 | Issue 12

Pasco’s Gordon Brothers Cellars files for bankruptcy By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

Energy

Federal awards put Tri-Cities on map for next generation of nuclear power Page A17

Business Profile

Sporthaus has been serving Tri-City outdoor enthusiasts for 40 years Page A43

Real Estate & Construction

Vancouver real estate firm plants $2.4M outpost in growing Tri-Cities Page B1

NOTEWORTHY “The Tri-Cities is just a growing little powerhouse.” - Carmen Villarma, president and founder of The Management Group Page B1

The state’s oldest estate grown winery is curtailing operations after its largest creditor compelled it to file for bankruptcy. Gordon Brothers Cellars Inc. and its related vineyard, Kamiak Vineyard Inc., filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in November, shortly after the Bank of Eastern Washington unexpectedly entered a “confession of judgment” against the Pasco winery, its vineyard, its landlord and its owners. The vineyard filed on Nov. 6 and the winery on Nov. 17. The two likely will file a joint reorganization plan, attorneys said during a December court hearing. Owner Jeff Gordon said the business will survive. “We just need to work through this,” he told the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business. Washington wineries were struggling under the weight of a global wine glut even before the Covid-19 pandemic. This spring, wine economist Christopher Bitter of Vancouver, British Columbia, told the Washington Winegrowers Association the state needed to remove 8,500 acres of vines or close a demand gap of 3 million cases to address the imbalance. Gordon Brothers, which reported a loss of $330,000 on its 2019 federal income tax return, was not immune. Its primary asset is its inventory of 59,534 cases of bottled wine with a wholesale value of about $8.4 million, according to bankruptcy documents. Bitter disavowed the term “wine glut.” He wasn’t familiar with the Gordon Brothers bankruptcy. Generally, he said, the industry faces intensified competition from a flood of newcomers. “Heading into 2020 we had a situation where many Washington wineries were douGORDON BROTHERS, Page A4

Photo by Wendy Culverwell Kyaw Htoo Kayunar, left, a Habitat for Humanity homebuyer who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Myanmar, and Jet Richardson, the Tri-City nonprofit’s new executive director, pause in a home under construction in east Pasco. The men removed their face masks just long enough to be photographed.

Globe-trotting Richland native is back home, at helm of Habitat for Humanity By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity has a new executive director, a Richland native who came home after exploring the country and the world. Jet Richardson signed on as the Richlandbased nonprofit’s new leader just months before the pandemic struck. He spent the first year focusing on Habitat’s mission to build affordable homes with donations and volunteers. One year in, he is ready to step into the spotlight to share the difficulties, the milestones and the story of Habitat, the feel-good juggernaut that puts hammers in hands of volunteers and homeownership in reach of

the working poor. The pandemic slowed – but did not halt – its progress. After a brief pause, staff and a core group of volunteers kept working at its latest development site on Cedar Avenue, east of Virgie Robinson Elementary School, between East Lewis and A streets. Habitat completed the first two of 11 homes on Cedar in September and December, respectively. The latter is being built for Kyaw Htoo and Nay May Kayunar, refugees from Myanmar, formerly Burma, and their three young children. Kyaw, pronounced “Jaw,” said he came to the U.S. after living in refugee camp for five years. The family rents an apartment in uHABITAT, Page A8

Bluewood carves out room on mountain for safe skiing By Kristina Lord

publisher@tcjournal.biz

Northwest ski resorts have spent the better part of the year planning for Covid-19 contingencies to ensure skiers and snowboarders can race down their favorite slopes safely this winter. Bluewood, the Tri-Cities’ closest resort which is owned by seven Tri-Citians, has been planning since March. It’s outside of Dayton, about 80 miles east of the Tri-Cities. Bluewood opened for the season Dec. 11 after adding two new buildings to accommodate social distancing requirements and improve overall traffic flow at the lodge. An expansion has been on Bluewood’s long-term capital wish list for probably 35

years, said Kim Clark, the resort’s general manager. “We’ve always known we’ve had space issues and space constraints,” he said. The pandemic pushed the project to the top of the priority list. Bluewood identified four major pinch points where guests bunched up in lines at the 11,000-square-foot lodge and got to work. Instead of expanding the lodge, they added the two new buildings. The Hub is the largest at 1,956 square feet. It will house rentals and the SnowSports department. It was in the final stages of construction the week of Dec. 11. Located adjacent to the lodge, the membrane-tensioned uBLUEWOOD, Page A23

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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020


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Tri-Cities RX repurposes Chinese restaurant for ‘closed door’ pharmacy By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

In one of the more unusual real estate moves in recent memory, a Chinese restaurant in Kennewick is being refashioned into an independent, closeddoor pharmacy catering to adult family homes, nursing homes and similar facilities. Pharmacists Randy and Dawn Johnson, owners of Tri-Cities RX, bought Bamboo Gardens at 8021 W. Grandridge Blvd. in August as the new home for the long-term care side of their business. The duo also owns the independent Tri-Cities RX retail pharmacy on the Kadlec Medical Center campus, which is not affected by the expansion. Bamboo Gardens shut down Aug. 27, the day the $870,000 deal closed. “I had to tell him to turn off the grill and stop cooking,” Randy Johnson joked. Converting the restaurant into a longterm care pharmacy should wrap up in mid-December. The Johnsons expect to relocate to Kennewick in January, once they have secured approval from state and federal regulators. The retail pharmacy caters to the public while the long-term care pharmacy serves institutional clients. It assembles prescriptions for residents of about 70 local care facilities, serving an area from the Tri-Cities to Moses Lake, Walla Walla to Yakima. The business is licensed in Oregon with an eye to expanding into Hermiston and Umatilla. Its pharmacists fill prescriptions for all the residents of its clients. Some fill prescriptions by the month, others on a weekly basis. It delivers 99% of the prescriptions it fills and provides medica-

tion management services. The new location will not cater to the public. A former Chinese restaurant is an unlikely spot to move a pharmacy business, but Randy Johnson said it made perfect sense for the long-term service. Unlike retail pharmacies, a long-term pharmacy operates like a warehouse, with a need for the types of open spaces found in restaurant dining rooms. It has to house specialized equipment to package prescriptions according to its clients’ needs. Bamboo Gardens, which had been for sale for several years, caught his eye about a year ago. Johnson's business was outgrowing its Richland space, and the lease expires in February 2021. The Johnsons made an offer for the 5,500-square-foot Bamboo Gardens building in February but backed off when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The building’s owner pulled the property off the market. But they reconnected in April and reached a deal. Johnson never doubted the wisdom of investing in the business, even in a pandemic. Johnson was born and raised in the Tri-Cities. He graduated from Kennewick High School before leaving for college, first at the University of Idaho and then Washington State University. “I have a lot of faith in our community,” he said. The new pharmacy will occupy part of the building. Johnson said he could use the balance for a retail or even compounding pharmacy in the future. He wants to absorb the cost of purchasing and renovating the property before making another big move. Johnson took a circuitous route to the pharmacy industry. He went to Idaho to

Photo by Wendy Culverwell Randy Johnson and his wife, Dawn, purchased the former Bamboo Garden restaurant, 8021 W. Grandridge Blvd. in Kennewick and are renovating it as the new home for their closed-door pharmacy serving long-term care centers. The couple, both pharmacists, also operate the Tri-Cities RX retail pharmacy at Richland’s Kadlec Medical Center campus.

play football, then transferred to WSU after his playing days ended. He took business courses and later, engineering ones to please his father. A course on career options prompted his love of pharmacy work. Johnson met his wife in school. The couple moved to the Tri-Cities when he was offered the chance to manage an independent pharmacy on 14th Street in Pasco. He spent five years managing it for a remote owner who ended up selling to Walgreens. He worked as a pharmacist and manager for Walgreens for several years. He called it an educational experience, but part of the education was personal.

“I didn’t want to work for a big pharmacy chain for the rest of my career,” he said. He launched the retail business on the Kadlec campus while Dawn worked in corporate pharmacies with a focus on long-term care. The couple spied a need for long-term care pharmacy services in the Tri-Cities. Local facilities relied on providers in Spokane, Seattle and Portland – too far to be nimble. They opened near Kadlec, to be close to the retail pharmacy. Tri-City RX employs 30, including 6.5 FTE pharmacists as well as pharmacy technicians, assistants and couriers.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020 GORDON BROTHERS, From page A1

509-737-8778 Mailing address 8524 W. Gage Blvd., #A1-300 Kennewick, WA 99336

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UPCOMING January: Legal • Architecture & Engineering February: Health Care • Retirement The Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business, a publication of TriComp Inc., is published monthly and delivered at no charge to identifiable businesses in Pasco, Richland, West Richland, Kennewick, Prosser and Benton City. Subscriptions are $27.10 per year, including tax, prepayment required, no refunds. Contents of this publication are the sole property of TriComp Inc. and can not be reproduced in any form without expressed written consent. Opinions expressed in guest columns and by advertisers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of staff, other columnists or other advertisers, nor do they imply endorsement by staff, columnists or advertisers. Every effort will be made to assure information published is correct; however, we are not liable for any errors or omissions made despite these efforts.

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ing exceptionally well, while others were struggling to sell wine and stay afloat,” he said. The pandemic has “magnified” the challenges, he added. He anticipates more permanent closures as the crisis drags on. Gordon Brothers will continue to run as a business following a Dec. 4 hearing where a federal judge approved a motion to allow it to access cash. The lender supported the move, which lets Gordon Brothers sell wine and tend its inventory. In court documents, the awardwinning winery and related businesses owned by Vicki and Jeff Gordon said their hand was forced by the Bank of Eastern Washington, which moved to enforce terms of a multimillion-dollar loan secured by winery assets on Oct. 30. The bank, a holding of Bank of Eastern Oregon, entered a forbearance agreement with the winery and related business in December 2019 after Gordon Brothers posted the $330,000 loss. As an S Corporation, Gordon Brothers’ income and losses pass through to the owners for tax purposes. Bank of Eastern Washington obtained writs that allowed it to garnish bank accounts held by the Gordons and their various business holdings, including the winery, the vineyard and IMAX LLC, the real estate company that leases Gordon-owned land to the winery and vineyard at 671 Levey Road, Pasco. It also sent debtor notices under the Food Security Act to Gordon Brothers customers. In bankruptcy documents, the Gordons countered the writ was inappropriate and ignored an automatic 10-day stay. With “limited cash flow” due in part to the debtor notices, it had no choice but to file for bankruptcy protection from creditors, it said. As part of the agreement to use cash, Gordon Brothers offered inventory accounts as collateral and to make $5,000 monthly payments to the bank. It also adopted an emergency budget for November and December 2020 that precludes it from buying grapes from Kamiak or making rent payments to IMAX, essentially to trim operations. Vicki and Jeff Gordon are the sole owners of Gordon Estate Winery as well as its Kamiak Vineyards and IMAX. Vicki Gordon serves as one of three elected commissioners for the Port of

Photo by Wendy Culverwell Gordon Brothers Cellars, operating as Gordon Estate Winery, opened a tasting room at the Port of Kennewick's Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village earlier this year. The Pasco winery and its related vineyard filed for bankruptcy in November.

Pasco. Gordon Brothers has produced, bottled and sold wine since 1983. Operations are conducted primarily in Franklin County. It closed its tasting room at Pasco’s Broadmoor neighborhood in 2017, citing lack of business. It reopened at the Port of Kennewick’s Columbia Garden’s Urban Wine & Artisan Village in early 2020, only to be forced to close because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The port confirmed it is current on its lease. The closure is apparently temporary. Gordon Brothers attributes about 5% of its business to California, according to tax documents filed with the bankruptcy case. Gordon Brothers said it owed $1.4 million to the bank in the November bankruptcy petition, its largest debt. The second largest debt is a $1.7 million loan the Gordons made to their business. The bank said it was owed $3.2 million in December 2019. The winery said the balance is closer to $2.75 million. The loan is secured by the assets of Gordon Brothers, including its inventory, equipment and accounts receivable, as well as the real estate assets of IMAX LLC, including personal property. The bank is also the first lien holder for 45 acres of developable property overlook-

Your local family-owned florist since 1969.

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ing the Snake River with a value of at least $1.6 million. Gordon Brothers asserts that the Bank of Eastern Washington loan is “over secured,” meaning the assets are more than sufficient to cover the balance. American Express Bank filed a financing statement against the debtors to secure an $11,000 balance. Desert Hills Realty valued its 260-plus acres of farmland at $6.8 million. The property includes 104 acres of vineyard, as well as 41 acres of cherries, 45 acres of alfalfa and 75 acres of non-farmable land. The estimate is based on the current market price of $17,500 per acre. Other assets include $700,000 in equipment, $484,000 in cash and $475,000 in accounts receivable. Under its emergency budget for 2020, Gordon Brothers contemplates “very limited new bottling” in November and December, no purchase of grapes from Kamiak or rent payments to IMAX. Gordon Brothers et. al. are represented by Roger W. Bailey and Joshua Busey of the Yakima law firm Bailey and Busey PLLC. The case is assigned to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Whitman L. Holt. Kevin D. O’Rourke of Spokane is serving as trustee.

uBUSINESS BRIEF State offers free 2021 workplace safety calendar

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries takes a light touch to the heavy business of workplace safety in its 2021 calendar. “Spot the Hazards” offers a fictional scenario each month in the name of promoting awareness of the hazards that can harm workers. Calendars are free to Washington businesses while supplies last. Go to lni.wa.gov/safety-health/safetycalendar to order a copy.


TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

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Thai restaurant downsizing to smaller spot in 2021 By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

Jacqui Wright will move her popular Mezzo Thai Fusion restaurant to a smaller spot in early 2021. Wright will close the 3,000-square-foot restaurant at 110 W. Gage Blvd. in Richland at the end of December. She plans to announce a new location in January. Fans can support Mezzo Thai by ordering meals for pickup or delivery until it closes, by buying gift certificates and purchasing tables and other furnishings that will not be needed at the new location. “I’m not going anywhere,” said Wright, who learned the art of Thai cuisine grow-

uBUSINESS BRIEFS Washington opens new round of Covid-19 grants

The Washington Department of Commerce is accepting applications for grants worth up to $20,000 apiece for small businesses seeking relief from the Covid-19 pandemic. Round 3 of the Working Washington Small Business Grants received $50 million of $70 million allocated in the latest round of business shutdowns. Grants are available to small businesses with revenue of $5 million or less in 2019 and who are in sectors most impacted by public health measures, such as restaurants, fitness centers, bowling alleys and event venues. Any surplus funds will be allocated to larger businesses. Go to startup.choosewashingtonstate. com/working-washington-round-3/ or commerce.wa.gov/bizgrants.

Kennewick among midsize cities with most small business owners

Kennewick was ranked nationally as the No. 3 midsize city with the most small business owners. That’s according to an AdvisorSmith study examining 259 cities using the U.S. Census Bureau’s September 2020 data to see which small, midsize and large cities had the most small business owners. Kennewick had 100 active small business owners per 1,000 residents. Nationally, midsize cities had an average of 43.1 small business owners per 1,000, the study said. There are a total of 29,961 active small business owners in Kennewick. Kennewick had more small business owners than Spokane, which ranked No. 18 on the list. Topping the midsize city list were Ocala, Florida, at No. 1 and Amarillo, Texas, at No. 2. For read the study, go to https://bit.ly/ KennMidSize.

No paywall at

tcjournal.biz

ing up in Thailand. She has lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years, after a 14year stop in England. Wright said Mezzo Thai is a casualty of the pandemic. It opened in 2003 and moved to the Gage Boulevard location in Richland about seven years ago. The business was poised for a strong year in 2020, before the Covid-19 crisis prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to order successive halts to in-person dining and other activities. Mezzo Thai relied on diners attracted to the restaurant for good food and live music. The formula did not work with takeout and delivery. Business fell and

delivery services took a 30% cut of the bill. The margins were not strong enough to cover the rent. Wright said she fell behind for the first time in seven years. She said business rebounded as the TriCities moved through the phases of the Safe Start program. When the Tri-Cities reached Phase 2, which allowed restaurants to open at 50% capacity, she was thrilled. Mezzo Thai was able to catch up enough to resume paying rent. The reprieve proved temporary. Inslee imposed a new round of restrictions in November as Covid-19 infection

rates surged. On Dec. 8, he extended the restrictions to Jan. 4 as the number of unoccupied intensive care beds evaporated statewide. As she contemplates a new location, she is working to address the financial chaos left by the pandemic. A Paycheck Protection Program loan covered about a month’s worth of salaries, not enough to sustain the business. Despite the challenges, Wright is confident that downsizing to a smaller location will pay off when the pandemic passes. “The good days will come back. I don’t know when it will be back, but I’m confident it will be good again,” she said.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

DATEBOOK GO TO TCJOURNAL.BIZ FOR MORE EVENTS

DECEMBER 17

• Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, “Confident Compliance: Protecting Workers from Covid-19”: 10:30-11:30 a.m. via Zoom. Details: web. tricityregionalchamber.com/events. • Community First | HFG Trust Client Appreciation Event: 7-8 p.m. Details at www.bit.ly/3l0TLtn. • Columbia Basin Badger Club, “ENCORE: Leadership in Times of Crisis with retired Gen. James Mattis”: Noon-1 p.m. Register: cbbc.clubexpress.com.

DEC. 15-31

• Senske Services Annual Holiday Light Show: 5-11:30 p.m., 400 N Quay St., Kennewick. Donate non-perishable food items to Second Harvest, stay for free light show synced to music on 90.3FM. • HAPO’s Winter Wonderland Festival of Lights: 4:30-10 p.m., John Dam Plaza, 815 George Washington Way, Richland. See lights set to holiday music, seasonal displays including replicas of decorated alphabet homes.

DECEMBER 18

Coffee with Karl: 9-10 a.m., webinar with president and CEO

of TRIDEC Karl Dye and guest. Facebook.com/tcdevcouncil.

DECEMBER 19-20

• Lampson Cable Bridge Run. Details at pasco-wa.gov/845/ Lampson-Cable-Bridge-Run.

DECEMBER 19

• Fill the Trolly Toy Drive hosted by Ben Franklin Transit: 9 a.m. Ranch & Home, 845 N. Columbia Center Blvd., Kennewick. Details at facebook.com/ events/1133541127077607. • Live Nativity Drive-By: 6-8 p.m. 895 Gage Blvd., Richland. See a live Nativity with live camel from your vehicle. Sponsored by the Hillview ward of the Richland Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

DECEMBER 22

commissioners/meeting.php. • Benton County Commission: 9 a.m. Details at co.benton.wa.us/ agenda.aspx.

JANUARY 7

• Port of Pasco Commission: 10:30 a.m. Details at portofpasco. org/about-us/port-commission.

JANUARY 28

• PNNL’s Community Science and Technology Zoom Seminar Series, “Size Does Matter! Testing with Simulated Hanford Tank Waste”: 5-6 p.m. Register: bit.ly/3oJrjOG.

• L&I Stay at Work Program webinar: 1-2:30 p.m. Details at lni. wa.gov/workshops-training. • Equal Pay and Opportunities Act webinar: 2-3 p.m. Details at lni. wa.gov/workshops-training. • Port of Pasco Commission: 10:30 a.m. Details at portofpasco. org/about-us/port-commission.

JANUARY 13

JANUARY 29

JANUARY 12

• L&I Employer Guide to Workers' Rights webinar: 1011:30 a.m. Details at lni.wa.gov/ workshops-training.

• Franklin County Commission: 9 a.m. Details at co.franklin.wa.us/ commissioners/meeting.php. • Benton County Commission: 9 a.m. Details co.benton.wa.us/ agenda.aspx.

JANUARY 14

DECEMBER 29

• WSU Tri-Cities, Common Read Seminar: “Challenging Exclusion and Segregation in the

• Franklin County Commission: 9 a.m. Details at co.franklin.wa.us/

Mid-Columbia Region”: 4-5:30 p.m. Details: tricities.wsu. edu/calendar. • AWB’s Virtual Legislative Day and Hill Climb: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Register: awb.org/event.

• HBA presents “Significant Changes to the 2018 Codes”: 1-4:30 p.m. Online event. RSVP to BIAW at 360-352-7800.

JANUARY 26

• Columbia Basin Society for Human Resource Management, 2021 Virtual Day on the Hill: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Details at columbiabasinshrm.org.

HOLIDAY SEASON

• Mid-Columbia Ballet presents “Clara's Tri-Cities Nutcracker Dream”: Streaming throughout holiday season, the movie follows Clara through more than 35 Tri-City locales and businesses in search of her lost Nutcracker. Info: midcolumbiaballet.org.


TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

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OPINION OUR VIEW We can agree on this: We want our business community to survive (and thrive!) By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

From “asymptomatic” and “asynchronous learning,” to “quarantine,” “pivot,” and “Zoom,” coronavirusrelated words have wormed their way into our lexicon this year. Though we’ve become fluent in talking about Covid-19, it’s been difficult to navigate our new world with evolving health advice, changing government mandates and so many new rules to follow. Is it safe to shop or eat indoors? Are we doing enough to protect our employees and customers? Should we open our businesses and defy state orders to survive? These aren’t easy questions with obvious answers. Our community didn’t agree on many fronts this year – presidential candidates, mask-wearing, nonessential versus essential business definitions – but one place we always seem to come together is working to support one another. Local businesses rose to the challenge in so many ways, and we wrote about many of them in the past nine months. Business owners spent a lot of money on PPE to protect their employees and customers: sanitizing stations, masks, plexiglass barriers, signs to promote social distancing. They also

changed their operations when they could to offer online or curbside services or pivoted to provide new services and products. Some applied for grants and took out loans to endure, while others closed their doors. Many have stepped forward to help where they can. J. Bookwalter, a Richland-based winery, is matching donations for the Tri-Cities Food Bank from winery visitors as well as patrons to Fiction, the winery’s on-site restaurant, through the end of the year. Visitors can make direct, tax-free donations or donate by rounding up their bills to the nearest dollar. On the heels of the governor’s announcement of a second shutdown in mid-November, Ann-Erica Whitemarsh, founder of the nonprofit Rascal Rodeo, launched a Facebook group called Shop the Tri to encourage community support of locally-owned small businesses after Marilyn Lott of Farmhouse Bake Shop dreamed up the idea. “I threw the group together and it exploded,” Whitemarsh told the TriCities Area Journal of Business. Lott and Whitemarsh estimate 200 businesses have joined and/or posted in what they call a “one-stop shop for

uOUR VIEW Page A12

Legislature must act quickly to head off looming unemployment insurance crisis Before the Legislature arrives for the 2021 session, some businesses in Washington will be facing the very real prospect of a 500% tax increase. That is on day one, before lawmakers even begin to talk about passing new taxes like an income tax, a capital gains tax or a tax on high-income earners. And it is coming at a time when most employers can least afford it. The looming crisis is related to the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) system. Last spring, as the coronavirus began to spread, Washington shut down a significant portion of its economy, meaning hundreds of thousands of people became unemployed almost overnight. The state’s unemployment rate rocketed from 4.2% in February to 15.8% in April. About half of those jobs had returned by September – before another wave layoffs triggered by new restrictions imposed on businesses in November. The impact on the unemployment system is unprecedented. By the end of the year, officials estimate Washington will have paid out about $5.3 billion in unemployment benefits, compared to just $1.01 billion in 2019. This was before the November restrictions went into place. This is the system working as it is supposed to work. Washington’s unemployment insurance program is designed to be a safety net for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. A global

pandemic and the abrupt shutdown of major parts of the economy is certainly no fault of those who lost their jobs. Kris Johnson It is also not Association of the fault of the Washington businesses, Business and unless GUEST COLUMN lawmakers take action to head off the looming crisis, it could be a disaster for many employers already struggling to survive. That is because after paying out more than $5 billion in benefits, it will soon be time to replenish the state’s UI fund. And it falls entirely on employers to do the replenishing. For many businesses, this will mean dramatic increases in the amount they pay in UI taxes. The numbers will vary based on industry, but it is possible that a business could go from paying $50 per employee in UI taxes to $277 per employee. This kind of increase likely will trigger more layoffs, leading to a downward spiral that puts even more strain on the UI system and delays the economic recovery we desperately hope to see in 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic is both a public health crisis and an economic criuJOHNSON, Page A14

Cargo carriers pick up where airline passengers dropped off

Shopping locally for holidays is more critical than ever

It’s no secret that airlines and airplane manufacturers have been clobbered by the coronavirus pandemic. International flights traditionally flown by jumbo jets are particularly hard hit. Borders are closed and people aren’t flying. There is a small silver-lining. Just as restaurants started take-out service to survive, airlines are filling planes with freight. U.S. airlines are reeling from the pandemic and have lost more than $20 billion combined in the last two quarters. Even with the surge in air freight rates, cargo revenues aren’t enough to make up for those losses on their own, especially with capacity still limited, CNBC’s Leslie Joseph reported earlier this month. “However, it has become a more important revenue source with many

It’s no secret the Covid-19 pandemic has made a huge impact on how Washington retailers and restaurants operate. With additional restrictions implemented at the start of the holiday season as cases surged, it’s another challenge for local small businesses. But that’s where we as a community can step in. Small retailers and restaurants are relying on us to send a message with our dollars that says, “We’ve got your back.” In 2020, this support is needed more than ever. About 62% of small businesses report they need consumer spending to return to pre-Covid levels by the end of this year. While limited store capacity and social distancing might prevent us from going in crowds to visit our favorite local small retailers, there are still

passengers still forgoing flights,” Joseph reported. Before the coronavirus, decades of a long aviation boom spawned Don C. Brunell a network of Business analyst nearly 50,000 GUEST COLUMN air routes that traversed the world. In less than a year, the pandemic wiped almost a third of them off the map, according to Angus Whitley of Traveller.com. In late January, 47,756 operational routes crisscrossed the world, more than half of them in the U.S., Western Europe and Northeast Asia, according uBRUNELL, Page A12

Jeremy Field U.S. Small Business Administration

GUEST COLUMN

ways we can #ShopSmall throughout the entire holiday season: • Order online – many businesses have implemented online shopping. Check business websites to see what options are

available. • Curbside pickup – call in purchases or order online to pick up gifts curbside to eliminate the need to go into a store. • Gift cards – these are an easy and popular way to support a local small uFIELD Page A14


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

HABITAT, From page A1 Kennewick and is looking forward to the stability that comes with owning a home. He devoted hundreds of hours to building Habitat homes, time he considers well invested because it gave him the skills to maintain his family’s new home. Richardson hopes to complete eight of the 11 homes in the fast-growing residential neighborhood by the end of 2021. Cedar Avenue is a showplace for a new way of building for Habitat. The city of Pasco made a small change to its building code that made a big difference in how the site is being developed. Instead of building five homes with extra deep lots, it is building 11 with manageable lots and shared driveways. The new code lets builders create resi-

dential lots without public street frontage through shared driveways. That means deep lots like the ones on Cedar can be divided to support more homes. Habitat is one of the first developers to take advantage of the change, which lowered land and development costs. That keeps costs down and homes affordable. Habitat homes typically sell for about $170,000 or the appraised value. “That little code, insignificant to a lot of people, was remarkably impactful for us,” Richardson said. The city said double-loading driveways will allow development of parcels that were previously difficult to build on. The move will increase flexibility as it responds to the 50,000 newcomers expected in the coming decades, said Jacob Gonzales, a senior planner in the city’s

department of community and economic development. The change has large implications for Habitat moving forward, Richardson said. Keeping land costs down is a big part of keeping homes affordable. It is Habitat’s biggest challenge, in Pasco and elsewhere in the Tri-Cities. Developing more homes on a site is a win for affordability and urban density. “We can do the same house on a smaller lot,” he said. Urban density is a professional passion for Richardson. He graduated from Richland High School in 2001 and later from Seattle Pacific University. He moved to Chicago, then joined the Peace Corps. An assignment to West Africa inspired an interest in urban planning.

“They had to move 2 million people around without consistent electricity,” he recalled. When he returned, he headed to New York, where he pursued twin graduate degrees in urban planning and international relations at Columbia University. That led to four years working on foreign policy in Washington, D.C., in an agency focused on conflict resolution. He spied the Habitat job posting when he decided to return to the West Coast and focus on urban planning. He got the job. “I wasn’t expecting to come back to the Tri-Cities,” he said. He calls his timing fortuitous. The TriCities is at a turning point for urban planning, with a rising interest in denser and blended development. Habitat for Humanity wants to ensure that planning addresses affordable housing. “Habitat is in a wonderful position to connect the dots,” he said. “Our families are hard working. They are well deserving.” The Tri-County Habitat has built nearly 140 homes in the 26 years it has served the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla. It builds homes for working families of all ethnicities who do not qualify for conventional home financing, generally those who earn 30%-50% of the area’s median income. That currently is $26,000-$46,500 for a family of four in the Tri-Cities. Buyers pay a minimum down payment and contribute up to 500 hours of “sweat equity” by volunteering at construction sites. Buyers close on their homes with low-cost mortgages backed by Habitat and Yakima Federal Savings. The combination of affordable land and donations of material and labor keeps mortgage payments down. The local Habitat chapter has never foreclosed on a buyer. “That is a testimony to the dedication of our homeowner partners,” Richardson said. As a nonprofit, Habitat for Humanity depends on contributions and grants to support its mission. It sells homes to families that commit to join volunteers to build houses. The pandemic forced it to adopt new rules to prevent the transmission of the virus that causes Covid-19 at construction sites, including limiting the number of people at a build to less than 10. But Richardson said Habitat’s supporters have stayed with it, allowing it to continue its work. It received a forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loan, part of the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security) Act, as well. Richardson said the biggest challenge is finding well-located home sites at a price that fits the Habitat model. It is eager to address housing shortages in the Tri-Cities and surrounding communities rather than concentrating in east Pasco. “The remarkable thing is we’re still able to build,” he said. Follow Habitat on Facebook @HabitatBuilds. Submit a homeownership application or make donations at habitatbuilds. com.


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New building welcomes youngest learners By Robin Wojtanik

for Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

A new building aims to meet the demand for high-quality preschool education in the Tri-Cities by adding three classrooms dedicated to Montessori learners at the new Ferguson Education Center in Richland. The 5,765-square-foot building opened just after Thanksgiving and can house 60 students at one time at 1107 Stevens Drive. It is named for the late Katie Ferguson, a former teacher at Christ the King Catholic School and its first lay principal, who dedicated her career to the school, retiring in the late 1980s. Her husband, Bob, had served as chief executive officer of the Washington Public Power Supply System, now known as Energy Northwest, from 1980-83 and also had served as deputy assistant secretary for nuclear programs for the U.S. Department of Energy. The Fergusons had been investigating ways to leave a lasting impact on the school at the time Katie passed away suddenly in 2018 at age 83. Initial plans of adding a pre-fabricated modular building expanded to a custombuilt design to meet the needs of current preschoolers. “Katie always believed early education was formative and she was passionate about education in general, and especially for students at Christ the King,” said Bob, a large benefactor of the Ferguson Education Center. “A modular unit wasn’t going to do the right thing and now we have this beautiful building.”

Demand for Montessori The project also had been a dream for Kelly Buchanan, program director for Christ the King Montessori School, who saw the demand for private preschool when she first returned to the area in 2009 and couldn’t find a school for her young son. She pitched the idea of a preschool to parish and school administrators as a way to work as a feeder to the current elementary and middle school. The Montessori program began about a decade ago and within a matter of years it had outgrown its single classroom and expanded to a second in a separate building on the school campus, once home to a convent for nuns and sisters. But student demand continued to outpace capacity. “We’d be full on the same day we opened registration,” Buchanan said. This was partly from returning students in a multiyear classroom environment, and increased demand when Buchanan began to offer an all-day preschool option. “Our waiting list frequently had 25 students on it,” she said. Construction began in late 2019 and slowed temporarily in the spring due to Covid-19 restrictions. A fall opening was pushed back to late 2020, but Buchanan still wanted to offer preschool education

Courtesy Kelly Buchanan Christ the King Montessori preschool students attend class in the newly opened Ferguson Education Center.

to the 60 families who had registered over the winter and were still expecting a spot in September. She temporarily eliminated the all-day preschool option to accommodate students for at least half a day and stretched students across three classrooms when the 2020-21 school year began. Students as young as 3 years old now wear face coverings the entire time they

are in the classroom or on the playground, with the exception of snack time, which is eaten at tables with clear, plastic dividers. “They often just need a reminder to keep the mask over their nose also,” Buchanan said. Covid-19 impacts also have meant the use of mini “stop” signs Courtesy Kelly Buchanan in the classroom to Benefactor Bob Ferguson and family friend, JoJo indicate which maSafranski, stand near the new Ferguson Education Center terials have been under construction in summer 2020. touched and require The child knew to get a sponge, soap disinfecting before and water to clean the table, and then refuture use. The stop signs are placed by the stu- trieved a mop to dry the floor after spilldents, demonstrating the Montessori phi- ing water while scrubbing. “There is no maximum of what a stulosophy that encourages independence dent is capable of,” Buchanan said. “We even from the youngest learners. It’s a method that focuses less on guide them in their development, and worksheets and using a pencil and more when a student is in a prepared learnon activities that build motor skills ing environment, it makes the process easier.” through hands-on learning. Buchanan’s team combats the effect Buchanan explained how a young student recently saw a project through to of devices, mostly tablets, phones or TV the finish when working with glue that screens, that she says are not beneficial ended up on the table. uMONTESSORI, Page A38


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

OUR VIEW, From page A7 local small businesses” since launching it Nov. 15. Sellers must have a business license to post in the group. Shop the Tri sorts companies into several categories: retail shops (online and brick-and-mortar), places offering treats and food, hair salons/barbershops/ beauty/relaxation, services (ranging from personal shoppers to cleaners), businesses focused on kids and pets, photography, Christmas, floral, and health and wellness. Cruising through the 7,000+ member strong group’s posts shows just BRUNELL, From page A7 to OAG Aviation Worldwide. There were just 33,416 routes on the global schedule on Nov. 2. For shippers, the shortage of passenger flights has a corresponding impact on air cargo. About half of the world’s air freight is flown in passenger planes’ bellies. Even though airlines continued to rehabilitate cargo business in September, the air travel recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is stalling, Eric Kulisch, Air Cargo editor wrote. If airplanes are grounded, so is cargo. It is that simple. Air cargo sector has retained 92% of its business, while almost 90% of passenger demand has evaporated because of travel fears and government restrictions. Further improvement in cargo volumes could be capped by the

how enthusiastic the community has been about connecting businesses with customers. “Nearly everything we could ever wish to buy can be found and made by smart, creative entrepreneurs right here in the Tri,” Lott said. Whitemarsh said she’s learned about so many businesses she had never heard of and was reminded of “the joys of going to an actual store outside of a grocery store and purchasing items.” “The face-to-face interactions with folks was big for me since we have been staying home so much. I appreciated the

human interaction,” she said. Whitemarsh said she’s had people from as far away as Colorado contact her asking for help in getting a similar group started in their hometowns. She’s heard from business owners that Shop the Tri has “quite honestly saved their business” and they’re seeing “new customers coming in spending hundreds of dollars at a time.” As we close out this unprecedented year, we asked several community organization leaders to weigh in on the year’s highlights – and lowlights. Though the challenges have been

staggering, so too are the countless ways the business community continue to face adversity. These are always stories worth sharing. We hope you’ll agree. To read more about what our local leaders have to say, turn to our Year in Review section on pages A27-36. Like any tight-knit family, Tri-Citians will always be prone to disagree, but we also tend to unite in a crisis. Let’s continue to do what we can to help our business community survive (and thrive.) And let’s bring this pandemic to an end.

ongoing shortage in passenger flights, even though the sliver of good news is Cathay Pacific resumed 777 flights between Hong Kong and New Zealand starting on Nov. 27. Many carriers started taking their jumbo jets out of service before the pandemic. They parked their Boeing 747s and their Airbus A380s. That loss of cargo capacity opened up business for companies such as Cargolux, a Luxembourg-based cargo operator with 30 747s. Cargolux is hoping that Boeing will make a freighter version of its 777X – the new composite wing aircraft. Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. Recently announced third quarter 2020 net income of $74.1 million, a stark contrast to second quarter losses by United Airlines ($2.4 billion) and Delta Air Lines ($2.1 billion).

Atlas leases 737 and 767 aircraft to Amazon which is expanding its fleet and plans to have 80 freighters flying by June 2021. Analysts believe Amazon’s air fleet, combined with its massive network of truck trailers and vans, could one day position it to rival UPS and FedEx. Amazon’s $1.5 billion air hub in northern Kentucky could help give it an edge. The hub, scheduled to open in 2021, is designed to have capacity for 100 Amazon-branded planes and handle an estimated 200 flights per day, according to a report by Annie Palmer of CNBC. While some analysts project it may take up to five years before passenger flights return to pre-pandemic levels, air freight is steadily growing in importance. Korean Air forecasts high demand

for traditional air cargo such as semiconductors, auto parts and e-commerce supplies and believes it will benefit from urgent medical supply demands associated with Covid-19. Its executives believe the lack of trans-oceanic container ships, opens even more opportunities for air carriers. Hopefully, the increase in air freight will led to new airplane orders for Boeing. That would be a shot of good news for Washington. Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at theBrunells@msn.com.


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Pandemic pressures force Chaplaincy Health to cut palliative care By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

Chaplaincy Health Care, the Richland nonprofit that serves the terminally ill and the grieving, will close its palliative care program at the end of December. Gary Castillo, executive director, cited fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic and an unsustainable financial model for the move. He notified staff and the program’s 160 patients of the decision in mid-November. Castillo, who helped launch palliative care seven years ago, called it a gutwrenching move that leaves a gap in services to ill patients who are not eligible for hospice. Even without the pressures of the pandemic, Chaplaincy was unable to serve all the patients who need the support its staff of nurses, social workers and chaplains provided. It routinely received more referrals than it could accommodate. No one had stepped up to fill the gap in early December. Still, Castillo said he is encouraged by discussions sparked by news that Chaplaincy would step down. “I see a lot of community interest in having palliative care,” he said. It will take the resources of more than one organization to serve all the needs. “I think it’s going to take a broader coalition of community health providers to provide this service,” he said. Palliative is one of the services the notfor-profit Chaplaincy provides in support of its spiritual mission. It provides hospice

service to the terminally ill, grief support and contracts with area hospitals and the Benton County Jail to provide chaplains. All are affected by the pandemic and its limitations on face-to-face contact, Castillo said. The hospice census dropped 10% by late fall, to about 170 patients. Medicare pays for services to eligible hospice patients, but palliative care is a bit of an orphan with no dedicated funding stream. That stems from its undefined nature. Hospice patients have a terminal diagnosis and six-month prognosis for death. Palliative patients may be gravely ill but are still being treated. Nursing services are covered, but the rest of the palliative care program’s $500,000 budget relies on “surplus” funds from hospice and fundraising. The surplus has evaporated in the face of rising regulations and falling fundraising. “We simply are not able to sustain this (palliative) program,” he said. With no formal definition for “palliative care,” programs can range from a single nurse or social worker who checks on clients by phone to more robust suites of inhome services involving nurses, chaplains and social workers. The Chaplaincy version began seven years ago as a simple program with one nurse. But it evolved into a robust program with not only nurses but social workers and chaplains. Five workers were laid off while a sixth remained on in a part-time role at hospice.

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Photo by Wendy Culverwell Chaplaincy Health, which provides spiritual guidance to individuals and families facing end-of-life challenges, is terminating its palliative care program at the end of December for budgetary reasons. The nonprofit is based at 1480 Fowler St., Richland.

While palliative care is ending, the other programs have had to adapt to the pandemic. Chaplaincy closed its popular thrift stores from mid-March through July. It received a Paycheck Protection program forgivable loan through the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act that kept staff employed. In the early days of the pandemic, a shortage of masks, sanitizer and other personal protective equipment forced the nonprofit to adjust how staff visited hospice patients. Instead of meeting in patients’ homes, visitors held meetings on porches and windows and over computer. It was an unsatisfactory approach for a program fueled by

human connections. “It is really important to staff and patients,” Castillo said. “They get very used to seeing their team on a weekly basis.” The pandemic even touched its hospice center. The Benton Franklin Health District asked Chaplaincy not to take Covid-19 patients at its hospice center, to ensure patents could continue to see their families. Despite their best efforts, a patient tested positive and had to be isolated in one area of the building. Hospice was able to grant the family’s wish to visit the patient before she died. “We gowned them all up and let them visit her before she passed,” he said. uCHAPLAINCY, Page A45


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020 JOHNSON, From page A7 Paid Advertising

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(509) 545-8121 Have your retirement plans changed because of COVID-19? If so, you have plenty of company. Nearly 40 percent of those planning to retire say the pandemic has disrupted their intentions, according to the Edward Jones/Age Wave Four Pillars of the New Retirement study. You might have been thinking about retiring early – can you still do so? Even without a crisis, it’s not a bad idea to review your important life goals from time to time. So, in thinking about the possibility of early retirement, consider these factors: • Your retirement lifestyle – Your ability to retire early depends somewhat on what sort of lifestyle you’re anticipating during your retirement years. If you think you’ll be traveling extensively or pursuing

expensive activities, you might not be able to afford to retire as early as someone with more modest ambitions. Of course, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way of living in retirement – we all have our own dreams and preferences. But be aware that different lifestyles do carry different price tags – and have different effects on when you can retire securely. • Sources of retirement income – Obviously, a key factor in knowing whether you can retire early is the amount of retirement income you can rely on. So, you’ll have to assess all your sources: Social Security, any other pensions you might receive, and your investment portfolio, including your 401(k) and IRA. The amounts you receive from these sources will depend on a variety of factors. • For Social Security, the longer you wait until collecting, the larger your monthly payments (although they will “top out” when you reach 70, excluding cost-of-living adjustments). In regard to your investments and retirement accounts, you’ll need to establish a withdrawal rate that’s appropriate for the length of time you expect to be retired. So, by adjusting these variables – taking Social Security earlier or later, taking more or less money from your retirement accounts – you can help determine if the retirement date you had in mind is viable. • Your feelings about work – Your

goals are not static – they can change in response to any number of reasons, both external and personal. When you first decided you wanted to retire early, you might have been motivated by, among other things, a weariness of your current job. But has that changed over time? Have you found new challenges that interest you at work? Or, if you were forced by the pandemic to work remotely, did you actually enjoy the arrangement and want to continue it? After all, many employers have found that their workers can be just as productive working at home, so, even when we’ve gotten past COVID-19, we might see a sizable shift in the geography of the workplace. In any case, if your feelings about work have changed in some way, leading you to think you could work longer than originally planned, you’d likely gain some financial advantages. You’d make more money, for starters, but you’d also keep building your 401(k) and IRA, and you could even possibly delay taking Social Security. The pandemic may lead to a reevaluation of many financial goals – and taking early retirement might be one of them. By thinking carefully about your situation and your options, you can come up with a course of action that’s right for you.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

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sis the likes of which we have not seen in more than 100 years. Recent news about vaccine development is encouraging, but we do not expect the recovery from either the public health crisis or the economic crisis to be immediate. One of the best ways that legislators can help employers is to follow the lead of doctors and seek first to do no harm. Hard-hit businesses will need help recovering from this once-in-a-century crisis. Lawmakers can jumpstart the recovery by not saddling employers with additional taxes and regulations at such a precarious moment. And they can provide a huge boost to struggling employers by heading off the looming UI disaster. Lawmakers will be facing many challenges when they convene in January. Unemployment insurance must be at the top of their to-do list. Employers need assurance that help is on the way. Kris Johnson is president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s chamber of commerce and manufacturers association.

FIELD, From page A7

business and please the people on your shopping list. This can include coffee shops, boutiques, personal services, restaurants and other local businesses. • Start early – with possible delays in shipping and inventory, start your shopping earlier this year to make sure gifts arrive in time. • Allow extra time for in-person visits – if you opt to mask up and visit your local businesses to purchase gifts, plan for extra time as stores need to limit the number of guests inside. • Order takeout – enjoy food from your favorite eateries with a pickup or delivery order. You can even consider catering for small household holiday gatherings. • Contact stores, local chambers or business associations – many local businesses and associations have designed creative ways to shop small this holiday season. Contact them directly to learn local ways you can participate. Last year, Small Business Saturday spending hit a record high of $19.6 billion from an estimated 110 million shoppers nationwide. Our holiday spending – at whatever level our budget can afford this year – collectively makes a difference. In 2020, every gift purchased from a small retailer or local restaurant has three beneficiaries: the gift recipient, the small business and the local community. Join me in shopping small this holiday season. Our local small businesses are depending on us more than ever. Jeremy Field is the regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration Pacific Northwest Region which serves Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. The SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses with resources to start, grow, expand or recover.


TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

Governor extends restrictions, adds $50M for business grants By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Gov. Jay Inslee extended his wideranging restrictions on indoor dining, gatherings and other activities to Jan. 4, citing alarming Covid-19 infection rates and the fast-dwindling supply of ICU beds in the state’s hospitals. The restrictions were imposed in November and were supposed to end Dec. 12. “This is an extremely alarming situation,” he said during a Dec. 8 press conference. The governor also announced a new $50 million round of unrestricted grants to support small businesses most affected by the shutdown order, including restaurants, music venues and gyms. Applications were due by Dec. 11, with funds set for distribution by the end of the month. Grant amounts depend on the number of businesses who apply, said Lisa Brown, director of the state Department of Commerce, which manages the Working Washington grant program. The governor also announced the state will pay unemployment benefits to about 100,000 Washington households that will be affected by the Dec. 26 end of Covid-specific federal benefits barring an extension from Congress. He declined to name the amount that will

be paid but said it will be generous. “We will not allow people to fall off that cliff in the state of Washington,” he said. The governor said the shutdown order could be lifted early if hospitalization and infection trends improve more than expected. His move is a bitter disappointment to Tri-City elected officials and restaurateurs, who released a video on Dec. 7 imploring the governor to allow restaurants to reopen, saying they could do so safely. The video featured elected officials from Benton and Franklin counties as well as area cities. Together, they said the community has embraced safety precautions and restaurants must reopen or face certain closure. The National Restaurant Association estimates 110,000 restaurants had closed by October. In Washington, an estimated 2,300 have closed. But Inslee was resolute, saying the science is clear: Sitting unmasked at a table in a restaurant is a recipe to share the virus. Unlike other activities, restaurants cannot mitigate the nature of dining together, talking in close quarters, unmasked, for lengthy periods of time. “Beyond a reasonable doubt, uRESTRICTIONS, Page A44

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Benton County cannabis sales top $34 million By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Cannabis sales in Benton County reached more than $34 million in fiscal year 2020. That’s up nearly 43% over fiscal year 2019, when sales reached nearly $24 million. Statewide, sales increased nearly 21% to $1.3 billion, up from about $1 billion. Benton County’s sales made up about 3% of the statewide total. King County boasted the highest sales at $340 million. The data released by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board covers July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. Jim MacRae, owner of Seattlebased cannabis industry data company Straight Line Analytics, told the Spokane Journal of Business that he believes many cannabis users are seeking comfort in the drug. “I figure this is people dealing with a rough time,” he said. “It would appear that people are availing themselves of intoxicants a great deal more than they used to be.” MacRae speculated that the increase in usage is most likely due to existing users consuming larger quantities. He said it’s likely that some people who were using cannabis after the end of the workday prior to the pandemic are now

working remotely and are using more frequently throughout the day. “If somebody wants to get up in the morning and wake and bake, and then go to work for the day from their home office, they can now do that,” he said. Washington state collected a total of $395.5 million in legal marijuana income and license fees in fiscal year 2019, all but $5.2 million of it from the state’s marijuana excise, or sales, tax. The 2019 report, the most recent available, also shows that the marijuana revenues were $172 million more than that of liquor, and that the marijuana tax income to the state for fiscal 2019 of $395.5 million grew by slightly more than $28 million from the prior fiscal year. Revenues collected by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board come from legal cannabis taxes, license fees, and penalties are distributed as follow, according to the 2019 report: General fund, $116.5 million; basic health, $188.3 million; cities, counties, $15 million; education, prevention, $9.5 million; research, $0.4 million; and other, $49.2 million. Benton County collected $283,593 in distributions in fiscal year 2020 and $267,077 in fiscal year 2019, according to data from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.


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ENERGY Federal awards put Tri-Cities on map for next generation of nuclear power By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

Courtesy PGE Portland General Electric Company permanently shuttered its Boardman Generating Station in Eastern Oregon’s Morrow County this fall. Boardman was the only coal-fired power plant in Oregon.

Goodbye to coal: PGE burned its last load of coal in Boardman this fall By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Portland General Electric completed its 10-year plan to mothball its 600-megawatt coal plant at the Port of Morrow in Boardman in October. PGE, which owns a 90% stake in the plant blamed for toxic haze in the Columbia Gorge, agreed to shut down the plant in 2010 under pressure to meet clean energy goals and from environmental groups such as the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative. “Our customers are counting on us to deliver a clean energy future,” said Maria Pope, PGE’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “PGE’s Boardman closure is a major step on our path to meeting Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and transforming our system to reliably serve our customers with a cleaner, more sustain-

able energy mix.” The private, investor-owned utility (NYSE: POR) set a goal of 100% clean energy by 2040, similar to Washington state’s 2045 clean energy goals. The company operates a pair of natural gas-fueled plants at Boardman to serve its customers in the greater Portland area. The Boardman plant is one of four Northwest coal-burning power plants slated to go offline this year as the region moves toward carbon-free power sources. Units 1 and 2 of the four-unit Colstrip Power Plant, operated by Puget Sound Energy and Talen Energy in Montana, shut down in January. Canadian power giant TransAlta will shut down one of two coal burning powuPGE, Page A18

Tri-City economic development officials are over the moon after the U.S. Department of Energy announced it would invest millions into the advanced nuclear reactor ambitions of two Energy Northwest partners. Bellevue-based TerraPower, founded and helmed by Bill Gates to develop safe, carbon-free power, and X-energy, based in Rockville, Maryland, each received $80 million in initial funding to build advanced nuclear reactors within 5-7 years. Both teams will site their reactors at Energy Northwest’s nuclear campus north of Richland. They are the first-ever awards under DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, established in May and referred to in energy circles by the initials ARDP. The program pushes nuclear energy as an option to meeting rising demand for electricity with carbon-free power. The $160 million awarded in October launches a seven-year, $3.2 billion plan that will see DOE invest in safer, low-cost advanced nuclear technology, subject to federal appropriations and industry matches. While nuclear power draws sharp criticism from anti-nuclear organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, Nuclear Information and Resource Service and others, the awards were warmly received in the Mid-Columbia, which prides itself on its pioneering role in nuclear development as a Manhattan Project community. U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, called the ARDP awards “an absolute game-changer” that cements the Tri-Cities as “a global leader in nuclear energy innovation.” While TerraPower and X-energy are taking different approaches to the next

generation of nuclear power, they share similar futures through their mutual partner in Richland. Energy Northwest will operate both their systems next to the existing 1,200MW Columbia Generating Station (CGS) nuclear plant. CGS occupies Site 2, one of three nuclear sites beside the river. The others are Sites 1 and 4. The original lineup included Sites 3 and 5, both in western David Reeploeg Washington and no longer in the Energy Northwest system. TerraPower, teaming with GE/Hitachi, designed its 345MW sodiumcooled “Natrium” reactor for Site 4. X-energy designed its scalable, gascooled 80MW Xe-100 reactor for Site 1. The ARDP award contemplates a four-unit, 360MW model. Both approaches feature flexible a power outlook that is compatible with intermittent power sources such as wind and solar. “This is incredibly exciting for the state of Washington,” said Greg Cullen, Energy Northwest’s general manager for energy services and development. “The future of advanced nuclear energy runs through the Tri-Cities.” Energy Northwest and local economic development partners quietly hosted X-energy executives in early November. Their mission: Show the company that the Tri-Cities is nuclear-ready and nuclear-friendly. David Reeploeg, vice president for government affairs for the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC), was part of the team. The visit went well, he uNUCLEAR POWER, Page A18


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

NUCLEAR POWER, From page A17 said. That is good news for the community’s ambition to be a center for energy development. “At the most basic level, if these are built in the Tri-Cities, it translates to construction jobs and then operational jobs. We feel like the Tri-Cities is wellsuited to be part of the story,” he said, adding, “We have a work force that knows how to do nuclear.” Cullen agreed. Tri-Citians are comfortable with nuclear power and want it. The community boasts a knowledgeable nuclear workforce, including union partners who understand large-scale projects. “This community has a lot to offer,” he said. Cullen said it is logical to target the two unused sites north of Richland for both projects. The Columbia Generating Station reactor was sited beside the Columbia in the mid-1970s because it needed abundant access to water for cooling. It was supposed to be the first in a series of nuclear plants developed by what was then called the Washington Public Power Supply System. For a variety of reasons, the additional reactors were never built and WPPS famously defaulted on more than $2 billion in revenue bonds in 1982. The fiasco left the sites undeveloped and ready for new projects. The next generation of nuclear power does not require as much water as Columbia Generating System. TerraPower

and X-energy technology both use “dry cooling” technology similar to the Fast Flux Test Facility. It requires less than 10% of the water of traditional reactors. Still, the technology does require water. More promising, both sites were previously certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Washington’s Energy Facilities Siting Council. The certifications have lapsed, but regulators have pledged to recycle the research for the next round, a move that could shorten permitting processes, Cullen said. While Energy Northwest is best known for its nuclear plant, the power consortium has a diverse portfolio of power projects, all carbon-free in nature. TerraPower and X-energy dovetail with the energy ambitions spelled out in MyTri2030, an economic visioning effort led by the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce. MyTri2030 identifies energy as a priority for future efforts, noting the region is blessed with a mix of sunshine, water to power dams and critically, scientific knowhow. Washington State Rep. Matt Boehnke, R-Kennewick, was thrilled by the announcement, which complements the state’s clean energy ambitions to combat climate change. A member of the House Environment & Energy Committee, he called it a payoff for the strong collaboration among federal and state partners, and recognition of the state’s commitment to clean energy, including nuclear. Promoting nuclear energy as part of the state’s carbon-free energy future is a

Courtesy TerraPower A rendering shows what a future TerraPower plant could look like. TerraPower and X-energy each received $80 million in initial funding to build advanced nuclear reactors within 5-7 years. The future reactors will be at Energy Northwest’s nuclear campus north of Richland.

critical next step that is gaining traction in Olympia, he said. DOE is expected to announce smaller ARDP awards to “less mature” concepts by the end of the year. The commitment to advanced nuclear technology should not change when President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January. Biden voiced support for developing new nuclear technologies to fight cli-

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Energy

mate change in his response to a 2019 Politico survey of candidates for the Democratic nomination for president. He specifically highlighted small modular reactors being developed with support from the DOE network of national laboratories. Go to bit.ly/EnergyARDP for more information about ARDP and the technology behind the TerraPower and Xenergy systems. PGE, From page A17 er plants at Centralia by the end of the month. It notified the Washington Employment Security Department it would lay off 64 employees at the plant in November. The second Centralia plan is set to go offline in 2025. PGE said it would replace the coalgenerated power with a mix of existing resources, including five-year contracts with the Bonneville Power Administration, Douglas County PUD and other independent suppliers. It factored the Boardman closure in its resource plans starting in 2010. Some employees are on site to conduct cleanup and prepare the facility for demolition starting in 2022.


Energy

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New energy project powers up in Richland By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Horn Rapids Solar, Storage & Training Project is now energized in north Richland. The utility-scale solar and battery project was turned on in early November and produces 4 megawatts, enough to support 600 homes. The additional 1MW battery storage system can support 150 homes for up to four hours. Construction of the $6.5 million project billed as Washington’s first utilityscale solar and battery operation began in February. The city of Richland, which operates its own electric utility, is buying the energy as well as battery storage capabilities. The 20-acre project includes 11,400 solar panels paired with battery storage

uBUSINESS BRIEFS Utility-scale solar project planned for Richland

Energy Northwest and Tucci Energy Services will develop a 75MW, utilityscale photovoltaic solar project on a 300acre site north of Richland. Energy Northwest signed a letter of intent to lease the site to Tucci, which will develop what is billed as Washington’s largest utility scale solar project. Construction is projected to begin in spring 2022. Potelco Inc. of Sumner will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor. Tucci is actively marketing the power to customers. The site is part of the 1,641 acres of from Hanford land transferred by the U.S. Department of Energy to the Tri-City Development Council to support local economic development in 2015. TRIDEC transferred 300 acres to Energy Northwest in 2016 and the balance to the Port of Benton and city of Richland. The Tucci site is adjacent the new Horn Rapids Solar, Storage and Training project, another Energy Northwest/Tucci partnership.

and is located seven miles north of the city on Horn Rapids Road. The mix of energy and battery power will help the city meet peak demand while pursuing the state’s carbon-free energy requirements, it said in a press release. It is a joint venture of the city, Tucci Energy Services, Potelco Inc., the state Department of Commerce and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Tucci, based in Seattle, owns and operates the solar system. Energy Northwest owns and operates the battery storage system. PNNL is monitoring and analyzing data from the project to evaluate the financial benefits of incorporating battery storage and to improve battery designs. The project was funded in part by a $3 million grant from the state’s Clean Energy Fund, which is managed by the

Colville Tribes, Franklin PUD make deal for substation

The Franklin County Public Utility District has agreed to lease a Pasco site owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation for a new substation. The two entities signed a letter of intent for a long-term lease for between five and seven acres. Terms have not been set. The tribe bought Pasco property in

Courtesy Energy Northwest The Horn Rapids Solar, Storage & Training Project in Richland is a 4MW direct current solar array combined with a 1MW battery energy storage system. Power from the project is provided to the city of Richland.

Department of Commerce. The site is leased from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 77. Washington state generates more than 60% of its power through hydroelectric

facilities, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Natural gas and nuclear energy were second and third, with renewables other than hydroelectric and coal coming in fourth and fifth.

2019 as part of its efforts to recognize the area as the homeland of the Palus, one of the 12 Tribes in the Colville Confederation. “The Colville Tribes and the Franklin PUD will work cooperatively on this project, which will result in increased electrical service to the citizens of this area,” Colville Tribal Chairman Rodney Cawston said in a release. “The

Colville Tribes will continue to be a good neighbor to area residents and assist, in whatever way we can, to support worthy causes such as this. We are very pleased to join with the PUD in this effort.” The proposed substation will support the King City industrial area, food processors and the future development of the Port of Pasco’s Reimann Industrial Center.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

Energy

UTC staff: Cascade revenue increase request not in ‘best interest of customers’ By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Courtesy Framatome 3D printed safety components will be used in the TVA nuclear complex at Athens, Alabama.

3D safety components for nuclear reactors come to Richland By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Framatome’s nuclear fuel manufacturing facility in Richland played a key role in the first-ever use of a 3D printed safety component in a commercial nuclear reactor. Framatome collaborated with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to create the channel fasteners for stainless steel fuel assemblies that will be installed in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s 3,400MW Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Alabama, during its spring 2021 fueling outage. The channel fasteners were printed at the Oakridge lab using additive-manufacturing techniques commonly referred to as 3D printing. They were installed on

ATRIUM 10XM fuel assemblies at the Framatome facility in Richland. The channel fasteners secure the fuel channel to the boiling water reactor assembly. The fuel channel wraps around the assembly to guide coolant flows up and through fuel rods. Channel fasteners traditionally were fabricated from expensive castings that required precision machining. “Our use of (3D) manufacturing techniques is a major advancement for Framatome and the nuclear energy industry,” said Ala Alzaben, senior vice president of the commercial and customer center of the fuel business unit for Framatome. Framatome began using 3D manufacturing in nuclear fuel systems in 2015.

Staff with the Utilities and Transportation Commission have recommended a rate decrease for Cascade Natural Gas customers, saying the Kennewick-based company’s revenue increase request was not “in the best interest of customers.” In testimony filed Nov. 20, UTC staff found that Cascade’s 5.5% requested revenue increase is not necessary to cover company costs or for customers, especially those facing significant pandemicrelated financial hardships. In its request, Cascade cited a $14.3 million revenue deficit. UTC staff found fault with the company’s submitted costs and instead calculated a revenue surplus of $508,968, according to a UTC news release. To avoid a future surplus, staff recommended the company reduce rates by the surplus amount. A significant part of the company’s request was $66 million in projected plant investments for 2020. UTC staff verified that Cascade completed four projects totaling $6.9 million. UTC staff objected to Cascade’s request to increase its rate of return to 7.54%, recommending the commission instead set the company’s rate of return to 6.93%. Cascade also requested $1 million to increase employee salaries by 3%, which

heating oil as their primary fuel. The cost will actually decrease an estimated 10%.

uBUSINESS BRIEFS Working from home and your power bill

The Horse Heaven Hills wind farm project would place 235 giant wind turbines on 24 miles of Tri-City ridgelines from Nine Canyon in Finley all the way to Benton City.

Save our Ridges save-our-ridges.org

Think about it? How tall is a wind turbine?

if approved would be the third year in a row for such a wage increase. UTC staff recommended that the commission deny this request. Under the staff’s proposal, the average residential customer using 56 therms a month would see a bill of $56.61, a decrease of $0.11, or -0.19%. The UTC will hold a virtual public comment hearing at 6 p.m. Jan. 26, 2021, for customers who want to comment on the rate proposal. Customers also can submit comments online at utc.wa.gov/comments; via email to comment@utc.wa.gov; by mail to P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA, 98504; or tollfree at 1-888-333-9882. The three-member commission, which is not bound by the company’s request or staff’s testimony, will make a final decision on the utility’s rate increase request in the spring. New rates would go into effect May 21, 2021. Cascade serves almost 220,000 residential and business customers in 68 communities throughout the state, including Kennewick, Aberdeen, Bellingham, Bremerton, Longview, Moses Lake, Mount Vernon, Sunnyside, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima. The UTC is the state agency that regulates private, investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Washington.

Staying home from work and school because of the Covid-19 pandemic may be good health policy, but it is driving up winter power bills. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects a rise in residential costs associated with all the major heating fuels during the cold winter months, driven by more “at-home” activities. Customers who heat with natural gas will face the biggest hit. A 2% decrease in natural gas prices will be offset by an 8% increase in consumption. For customers that translates to a 6% increase in home heating costs. The news is good for those who use

DOE awards $130M for solar development

The U.S. Department of Energy is awarding $130 million to fund 67 projects to advance solar power research, including a pair based in Washington state. The University of Washington received $1.5 million to improve photovoltaic device performance. Hugh Hillhouse is the principal investigator. StorEdgeAI, based in Seattle, received $1.8 million to drive improvements to help utilities meet the goal of 30% of power coming from solar by 2030. Ranjan Gupta is the principal investigator.

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The observation deck of the Space Needle is at 520 feet. The wind turbines at Horse Heaven Hills will be at 500 feet.

How to help? Go to save-our-ridges.org Contact our local commissioners and energy development companies.

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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

Energy

Q&A Number of employees you oversee: 1,000+ Brief background of your business: Energy Northwest is a joint operating agency of Washington state, comprised of 27 public power member utilities from across the state, serving more than 1.5 million customers. Energy Northwest owns and operates a diverse mix of 100% carbon-free electricity generating resources including hydro, solar, battery storage and wind projects and the third-largest provider of electricity in Washington – the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power facility. The agency continually explores new generation projects to meet its members’ needs. How did you land your current role? How long have you been in it? I came to the Tri-Cities in December 2010. I was offered the chief nuclear officer position from previous Energy Northwest CEO Mark Reddemann, who I’d worked with in Minnesota at Xcel Energy. I was the CNO for almost seven years and then promoted to CEO in 2018 when Mark retired. Prior to coming to Energy Northwest, I spent most of my career at the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant (Monticello, Minnesota) in operations, training and plant manager positions. Why should the Tri-Cities care about the energy industry? The Tri-City area is the birthplace of nuclear, so we have a rich history of nuclear reactors and then later harnessing that for energy purposes. The energy industry is an essential service and also a great source of jobs and revenue for our area. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? Empathy. We should always be concerned for the well-being and success of our teammates.

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BRAD SAWATZKE

CEO Energy Northwest

What is the biggest challenge facing the energy industry today? Decarbonization. As we retire carbon-emitting coal plants, the challenge is ensuring we are prepared to fill the gap with available electricity resources. Renewables will play a big part – Energy Northwest is an advocate, as we own and operate wind, hydro, solar and battery facilities – but they will not be enough, so we have to ensure we are building new baseload resources for the future. If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your industry? Relative to the nuclear industry specifically, I believe we spent too many years with an out-of-sight out-of-mind mentality about our business. We failed to tout all the advantages that nuclear has to offer, specifically being a baseload, full-time, carbon-free resource that supports the environment. We should have done a better job of advertising all our positives. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? Be prepared for, and accept, that at times you will be wrong. The last year with Covid-19 challenges has been a great reminder that the right answer will not always be obvious, so be ready to make changes as necessary. The ability to recognize a mistake and make adjustments is important for keeping the trust of the team. Who are your role models or mentors? There’s been many, but I think you learn just as much from leaders who show us what not to do, as those who teach us what to do. How do you keep your employees motivated? Spending time focusing on the future and what we need to do to improve, and minimizing the time spent on the past. When things don’t go right, take the time to learn from those mistakes, but quickly

move on. If we are constantly looking behind us, it prevents us from seeing what is in front of us. How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? Pure luck. I was fortunate to get a job working construction at Monticello to make money for school. An in-house manager offered me a starting-level position, and I knew there were great careers in the utility industry. I finished my college education during night school. How do you measure success in your workplace? I believe you can measure success by the attitude and energy of our teammates In our industry, we do surveys to measure people’s job and company satisfaction, but I also believe you learn more by getting out and interfacing with people and getting their direct feedback.

Brad Sawatzke

What do you consider your leadership style to be? I believe in setting high goals and a picture of what success looks like and empowering the team to come up with a plan to get us there. Leaders should set the vision and expectations. Leadership style needs to be dynamic, and there’s times, no matter what your role, when you need to be more directive and in the

uSAWATZKE, Page A22


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SAWATZKE, From page A21 details. This year, with navigating Covid-19, I’ve been in more of a directive style than usual. In part because it’s new territory for everyone, but also because it’s about protecting the health and safety of our employees while also providing an essential resource to the region. How do you balance work and family life? I make family life a priority. I’ve been fortunate in my career that I was able to coach almost all my kids’ sports teams and make all the important events. There were times that meant stopping back at the office late at night when the game or band concert was over, but even

those times were rare. I was very lucky because my wife Kim was there to ensure everyone got where they needed to be when I had work challenges. What do you like to do when you are not at work? Spend time at the lake, be with family, hike, weightlift, attend sporting events and concerts. A number of those activities, of course, have been put on hold this year. What’s your best time management strategy? Whenever possible, touch everything only once. Prioritize. If everything is important, then nothing is important. I focus on identifying the important items and moving everything else along quickly.

Best tip to relieve stress? Exercise. Favorite book? It’s hard to name a favorite book, but over the last 10 years as Kim and I became empty nesters, I’ve spent a lot of time reading again. I’m currently reading “The Splendid and the Vile” by Erik Larson, which covers Winston Churchill’s first year in office. I’ve enjoyed both the historical aspects and leadership lessons. Do you have a personal mantra, phrase or quote you like to use? I have several favorite quotes. One that defines teamwork for me is from Bruce Springsteen, who said, “In the end, nobody wins unless everybody wins.”

Energy

Covid-19 pandemic increases some natural gas prices By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Many natural gas customers in Washington saw changes to their energy bills beginning Nov. 1. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission recently approved rate increases of nearly 8.5% for NW Natural and Puget Sound Energy natural gas customers.  Kennewick-based Cascade and Spokane-based Avista natural gas customers will see slight rate decreases. The variation in gas rates among Washington’s investor-owned utilities is due to regional differences in monthly residential usage, supply sources, conservation and energy efficiency programs, low-income program costs, and company gas purchasing practices, the UTC said. Higher customer gas costs elsewhere in part reflect increases in natural gas market prices. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, production of natural gas has slowed while demand has increased, resulting in increased costs for Washington utilities. The typical Cascade residential customer using 56 therms a month will see a decrease of 0.8%, or $0.46, for an average monthly bill of $56.26. Avista’s rates decreased by 0.1%, or $0.08 a month. Though Cascade’s costs were higher than expected over the past year, the rate impact is entirely offset by a balance owed to customers through Cascade’s decoupling mechanism, under which the utility’s recovery of fixed costs does not depend on the volume of its gas sales. Kennewick-based Cascade serves more than 220,000 residential and business customers in 68 communities throughout the state.  The NW Natural residential customers using 57 therms a month will see an increase of 8.4%, or about $4.53 a month. Portland-based NW Natural’s rate increase is due to higher gas market prices, as well as the elimination of tax credits related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Puget Sound Energy residential customers using 64 therms a month will see an increase of 8.46%, or $5.46. Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy’s rate increase is due to higher-than-expected costs over the last year, as well as higher natural gas prices projected for the upcoming year. Natural gas companies must submit Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment filings at least every 15 months to adjust rates based on the constantly changing cost of natural gas in the wholesale market. The cost of gas purchases are passed on to customers; companies do not profit from or lose money on gas purchases. The UTC regulates the private, investor-owned natural gas utilities in Washington.


TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020 BLUEWOOD, From page A1 building designed by Sprung Structures is built to withstand extreme weather and shed heavy snow loads. The Hub will provide more space to pick up rental gear and sign up for lessons, while eliminating long lines at the lower level of the lodge, Clark said. The second building is a 450-squarefoot yurt similar in design to the yurt at the summit. This will be the first stop for guests to pick up reserved and pre-purchased lift tickets. That’s the other new amenity this year. Bluewood’s redesigned website allows guests to buy tickets online in advance, eliminating the need to stand in line once arriving at the slopes. “They’ll give their name, get their ticket and then they’re gone,” Clark said. Clark said the resort launched the new website and point-of-sale system in early November. The new site also is more mobile friendly, too. “We’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. The old website was getting dated and it wasn’t mobile friendly and the millennial generation lives off their phones,” he said. With rentals, snow sports and ticket pickup areas moved to the new outbuildings, the vacated space leaves about 1,200 square feet in the lodge. That space, near the Pub, has been converted to another dining area, with tables, chairs and a snack station. Grab-and-go meals and snacks are available.

Off the grid Bluewood takes pride in being a small, family-oriented destination that’s literally off the grid, with the commercial power system ending eight miles from the ski area, Clark said. A 12,000-gallon diesel storage tank powers the resort. “Once we open, those generators run 24/7 until April when we close down,” he said. Bluewood only installed its phone system a year ago, using Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, a method of transmitting sound as data over the internet. Clark and the Bluewood crew say they always look forward to the familiar faces in their close-knit community returning to the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding is a true family activity, he said. “We’re not one of those big mega resorts. We know a remarkable amount of people by their first name because people have been coming here for years. We’re known for our great snow and familyfriendly atmosphere. … It’s just a throwback to the way things used to be from a social standpoint,” he said. Clark estimates about half of Bluewood’s visitors come from the Tri-City area. Its other primary markets include Walla Walla, Pendleton, Touchet, Dayton, Pomeroy, Lewiston, Moscow and Pullman. “We have in the past gotten a fair amount of day traffic and overnight visitors from the Spokane area… We’ve made good inroads into that market area. We’ll have to see what the effects of things are going to be,” Clark said. Staffing Bluewood’s $600,000 payroll swells to 160 employees during the winter season – about half are full-time positions. Off

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season, there are nine employees. Last year’s ski season ended abruptly on March 15 with the first round of statemandated shutdowns to curtail the spread of Covid-19. “Normally we go into the first weekend of April. We lost three vital weeks of the season,” Clark said. This year’s snow forecast “looks wonderful,” Clark said.

What to expect Clark advises guests to use their car as a base camp and to be “ready to work and play out of that” since state restrictions prevent hanging out in the lodge. “We are encouraging that as part of social distancing. We encourage you to come here and get ready and put your boots on in your car. Grandma and grandpa aren’t going to be able to sit in the lodge all day and watch the kids ski. It is going to be limited,” Clark said. Masks will be required indoors and anywhere guests queue up, including the lift lines, parking lot, base area and lodge. “Don’t be the reason we lose our season,” Clark said. “If you’re ill, stay home. ... We’re all in this together. Everyone is just itching to get out and spend time outside.” Clark feels confident people will abide by the mask rules because they want to be on the mountain. “Everyone is in it together,” he said. “We know there’s pent up demand.” Reservations and information about the operating schedule, Covid-19 protocols and other updates can be found at bluewood.com. Get updates on weather conditions at 509-240-8991.

Courtesy Bluewood Bluewood built two outbuildings at its Dayton-area resort to allow for better social distancing and traffic flow for this year’s winter season.

Courtesy Bluewood The Hub, the largest building at 1,956 square feet, will house rentals and the SnowSports department. Located adjacent to the lodge, the membranetensioned building was designed by Sprung Structures to withstand extreme weather and shed heavy snow loads.

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YEAR IN REVIEW It’s no surprise coronavirus, development stories lead the Journal’s top web stories in 2020 By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Our annual list of the most-read stories on the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business’ website covered a range of topics always popular with our readers – property, land and restaurant sales, and planned restaurant openings. But the coronavirus theme also ran through our top stories, just as it did our communities. Among the most read online features included our initial roundup of coronavirus-related cancellations posted March 12, and a story about an interactive map providing scores of state and county level performance to show how behaviors were changing across the country in the wake of social distancing recommendations. Our Building Tri-Cities section also proved popular with online readers. It’s an advertorial feature highlighting new construction projects and the contractors who work on them. Here are the top news stories of 2020, according to tcjournal.biz readers: 1. Pasco’s historic Moore Mansion sells for $2.7 million (https://bit.ly/ MooreMansion): We broke this March story about Debra and Brad Peck selling their historic Pasco mansion to a Kennewick couple who planned to run it as a residence and event center. 2. Longtime arborist says goodbye to Richland and its 5,800 trees (https:// bit.ly/RichlandArborist): This September profile featured retiring Richland arborist Ruben Rojas, the man charged with the care of the 5,800 trees that dot city parks and properties. 3. MOD Pizza coming to Kennewick this summer (https://bit.ly/ColumbiaCenterexpands): Snow was on the

ground when we wrote this January story about MOD Pizza’s plans to open a second Tri-City location at Columbia Center in Kennewick. A follow up story confirming the planned tenants also cracked our most-read list: (https://bit. ly/NewMallTenants). 4. Kennewick developers plan up to 600 homes on Pasco waterfront (https://bit. ly/HarrisFarmbuyers): This January story highlighted the plans of a pair of Kennewick homebuilders wanting to construct 500 to 600 townhomes and condominiums on Pasco waterfront. They bought 39 acres of the former Harris Farm. 5. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit reopens in Richland for Valentine’s Day (https:// bit.ly/Dickeysreopens): A commercial real estate broker and owner of a Tri-City moving company reopened the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit at 2530 Queensgate Drive in Richland. This February story reported about the plans to relaunch the brand in the Tri-Cities eight months after it abruptly closed in June 2019. 6. Columbia Center reopens after 3½-month closure (https://bit.ly/ColumbiaCenterreopens): Many readers welcomed the July news that Columbia Center mall planned to reopen with enhanced safety protocols after being closed for three-and-a-half months to slow the spread of coronavirus. The Kennewick mall, which shut its doors March 19, reopened four days after Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Benton and Franklin counties could move into a modified Phase 1 of the state’s Safe Start plan. 7. Longtime Stick + Stone manager buys restaurant (https://bit.ly/stick-

Courtesy Firefly Photography and Cinematography

Moore Mansion

2020

IN REVIEW

Ruben Rojas, retired Richland arborist

Pasco waterfront

stonenewowner): Another February restaurant story cracked our top 10 list. The founders of Richland’s Stick MOD pizza groundbreaking in Kennewick + Stone Neopolitan Wood-Fired Pizza bit.ly/KGHrehab): We broke this October sold the business to the employee who has story about the former Kennewick Genmanaged it almost from the start. eral Hospital, currently used a birthing 8. Restaurant for lease in prominent center by Trios Health, becoming a deRichland spot (https://bit.ly/Markel- toxification and residential treatment faRestaurant): Drivers passing by the con- cility offering drug treatment and mental struction near the intersection of Keene health services under a plan set in motion Road and Queensgate Drive clearly were more than two years ago and now gaining anxious to find out what it was going to momentum. be. This October story reported about a 10. Tri-City hoteliers think outside prominent Tri-City developer’s plans to the box as pandemic emptied rooms build a fast-food restaurant and office (https://bit.ly/HoteliersPivot): Our May next door to Richland’s newly relocated story featured the creative ways Tri-City TacoTime. hoteliers adapted to stay relevant in a 9. Old Kennewick hospital eyed for wake of cancellations and fewer visitors mental health, addiction center (https:// during the state-mandated shutdown.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

Year

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The best view of 2020: The rearview mirror About a year ago I was contacted by an executive search firm to apply for the president/CEO position at the Tri-City Development Council, or TRIDEC. After a two-month process, I was selected. We sold our house in Lewiston and moved down the Snake River to start the best job I have ever had.

Karl Dye TRIDEC

But if you asked me when I started in February how I would lead our team from the attic office of our house for at least nine months, I would have wondered if this was a trick interview question! With the end of 2020 in sight and looking forward to a better 2021, here is a TRIDEC perspective of the year.

The low point: pandemic Instead of calling it unprecedented, let’s describe Covid-19 as the first global pandemic in six or seven generations. That means almost no one alive today lived through the last global pandemic of 1918-19, nor did we have the shared experience of a pandemic to prepare for this health care and economic disruptor. So, as TRIDEC, our regional partners,

local businesses and our greater community have done many times before, we joined together to support each other while working to accelerate our economy as we come out of the pandemic. Here are some of the milestones, programs and activities that TRIDEC has led, partnered and collaborated with to help offset some of the economic impacts of the pandemic.

The high points PPE Drive: Immediately after the governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order in March, TRIDEC was contacted by our three local hospitals and asked if we could contact local businesses to request Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, donations. We quickly organized a drive-thru/ drop-off campaign in cooperation with the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visit Tri-Cities. This effort netted more than 20,000 pieces of PPE that helped protect our front-line health care workforce and first responders before the global supply chain could catch up with demand. CARES Act: At the end of March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, aimed at providing economic assistance for American workers and families, small businesses and preserving jobs for American industries. TRIDEC worked with the Washington delegation to make sure federal contractor employees were paid during the com-

Photo by TCAJOB Almost every Friday during the pandemic shutdown, TRIDEC’s Karl Dye has invited local guests to a “Coffee with Karl” Zoom webinar to discuss their company, organization or current events. This Nov. 20 session featured superintendents from the Kennewick, Pasco and Richland school districts.

plete shutdown caused by the governor’s order. This provision has reduced the Covid-19 impact on our economy while allowing the Hanford site and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to retain the workforce that is critical to both of their missions. Working Washington grants: The state of Washington took $20 million from its Strategic Reserve Fund and created the Working Washington Small Business Grant Programs to help small businesses impacted by the governor’s order. TRIDEC is an associate development organization, or ADO, for the state, and

we worked through local applications to create a prioritized list of affected businesses. This program brought over $545,000 to support businesses in Benton and Franklin counties. TC Open and Safe Coalition: Started in conjunction with the Tri-City Regional Chamber and Visit Tri-Cities, we formed the Tri-Cities Open and Safe Coalition to help businesses access the Benton-Franklin Health District guidelines and build reopening plans as we transitioned to a modified Phase 1 status in July. These plans included a pledge to follow the

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Tri-Citians shine in darkest days of pandemic 2020 has been a turbulent year for tourism as it has been for so many industries and individuals. Tourism is a significant economic engine for our community, driving half a billion dollars in visitor spending and supporting more than 5,600 jobs. Tourism helps small businesses not only survive but thrive and helps attract new businesses. Local tourism generates $55 million in state and local taxes. The taxes generated by visitors helps lower Tri-Citians’ tax burden by roughly $740 per household. These taxes help to fund police and fire, schools and teachers, roads, parks and so much more. In short, tourism creates economic vitality and quality of life in the TriCities for all residents to enjoy. As you may know, tourism was one of the first industries to feel the immediate effects of Covid-19 and remains one of the hardest hit. Industry analysts are predicting the tourism industry will see a 45% loss in 2020 nationally. When visitors come to our community they spend money traveling to and from the Tri-Cities (think planes, trains and automobiles). They spend money in our hotels, our restaurants, wineries and breweries, at our attractions. They shop at our retail stores, pump gas and buy groceries. Unfortunately, the pandemic has led to business closures of hotels, restaurants, retail and many others. Some temporary and sadly, others permanent. Gone are those jobs and some of the businesses that make the Tri-Cities special. Others have persevered, but times are tough. Please consider supporting local establishments however you can. Many businesses have embraced innovation this year; they’ve made lemonade. The following is simply a sampling of the ways our community has persevered, entertained, fueled and fed us during the pandemic. • The Atomic Chapter of Beer Choir went virtual! That’s right, earlier this year many Tri-Citians enjoyed local craft beverages while singing pub songs from the Beer Choir Hymnal in the comfort of their homes. • Purple Star Winery held Tiara

Michael Novakovich Visit Tri-Cities

Tuesdays, a virtual weekly wine tasting, with commentary from winemakers Kyle and Amy Johnson. Winemaker Shae Frichette held blind tastings virtually. Fun! • Solar Spirits and Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard and Winery shifted operations to produce hand sanitizer at a time when our community couldn’t find a drop of it anywhere. • Tri-City Water Follies held a drivein Over the River Air Show. Amazing! The cities of Kennewick, Pasco, Richland and West Richland all held drive-in movies. • CG Public House held a number of drive-thru events including an event that celebrated the Benton County Fair & Rodeo, complete with your favorite fair food. • Mid-Columbia Mastersingers held their first streamed program, “Dido and Aeneas.” • The Mid-Columbia Ballet is providing our community with a wonderful holiday present, virtually of course, “Clara’s Tri-Cities Nutcracker Dream.” At the Visit Tri-Cities annual meeting in November, we awarded our Excellence in Service and Kris Watkins Tourism Champion awards to two incredible tourism businesses that pivoted operations and put energy and resources into community endeavors with far reaching impact. Our Excellence in Service winner, The Lodge at Columbia Point, was fortunate to qualify for Paycheck Protection Program funding, but how do you keep staff members meaningfully employed when your hotel is nearly empty? This group of tourism professionals chose to dedicate their work hours to improving opportunities for others. They partnered with Grace Kitchen,

which exists to empower and employ women out of poverty. The hotel staff worked full time for a month helping to renovate the Grace Kitchen building, allowing the nonprofit to open its doors by year-end and in turn serve others. This year’s Kris Watkins Tourism Champion of the Year, was Corey Pearson and the team at the Three Rivers Campus (Three Rivers Convention Center, Toyota Arena and Toyota Center), which has been closed throughout the pandemic. Within the first month of the stayhome order, it became clear that many Tri-Citians were struggling to put food on the table and the need for food distribution was outpacing the capacity of the traditional channels. Pearson and the Three Rivers campus team saw an opportunity to help others by organizing mobile food markets. The results were nothing short of phenomenal. More than 810,000 pounds of food were distributed to more than 6,000 families over an eight-week period. Together with Second Harvest, they coordinated 5,740 hours of volunteer support. And their good work did not stop there. In addition, the Three Rivers team partnered with the Benton-Franklin Health District to provide drive-thru Covid-19 testing, hosted a Halloween Trunk or Treat for the community and

again partnered with Second Harvest to organize a Thanksgiving Turkey Drive. At Visit Tri-Cities, we have been busy innovating and continuing to invest in community during the pandemic. We stood up the Tri-Cities Open For Business initiative with the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce and TRIDEC to promote and preserve local business, local jobs and our economy. Late spring, we once again partnered with these two organizations to create the Tri-Cities Open and Safe Coalition in coordination with public health officials to help businesses safely reopen. We also worked tirelessly with government and business leaders to help our community move through the phases of the Safe Start program. This group, called the Municipality Advisory Council, has been very successful in working directly with the governor’s office to open up our community since early summer. We are still finding our way through this pandemic, but it is encouraging to see so many Tri-Citians embrace innovation, collaboration and support of one another. This is how we will successfully get through the pandemic… together. Michael Novakovich is president and CEO of Visit Tri-Cities, the region’s tourism agency.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

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Regional chamber is your pandemic partner and advocate Making it through a worldwide pandemic has been both a challenge and an opportunity for the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce – requiring a great deal of “out of the box thinking.” Covid-19 offered little choice for chambers and associations but to retool the programs, products, events and services we offer, with a focus on delivering immediate value to our member businesses and the region at large. Thanks to the leadership of our board of directors and staff we were equipped and ready to respond. We know that quickly reaching out to our business community with resources has been crucial as they need to make

Lori Mattson Tri-City Regional Chamber

informed decisions during this time of crisis. In March, before the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order was issued, the chamber launched the Tri-Cities Open for Business webpage.

The page provided resources for businesses and visibility to members deemed “essential.” Also, the chamber, along with the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC) and Visit Tri-Cities, created the Tri-Cities Open and Safe Coalition, a region-wide initiative to protect public health and restore our local economy. Throughout the shutdowns, the chamber has kept members informed about options and assistance programs. The Covid-19 Resource Guide, updated weekly, contains vital information about grants, loans, services and benefits available to businesses. By providing the most comprehen-

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sive and current information, businesses will have access to the resources they need during this critical recovery period. Many business owners are struggling to understand the ever-changing available resources during the crisis. The chamber launched the Rapid Response Line to provide guidance for Tri-City businesses to connect with the resources available at the local, regional, state and federal levels. By calling the Rapid Response Line, business owners can receive personal assistance navigating through information and resources. We have partnered with numerous organizations to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) to businesses in need. In partnership with the Minority Business Development Agency, the chamber facilitated the distribution of 100 PPE kits to minority and woman owned businesses. The Tri-Cities Open and Safe Coalition held a PPE Donation and Distribution Drive, an effort to assist businesses prepare for safely reopening. Through the Association of Washington Business and Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), the chamber distributed over 300 infrared thermometers to local businesses. The chamber continues to be a strong advocate on behalf of business through our continuous communication with local, state and federal elected officials and jurisdictions. Since March, we have created industry coalitions and issued many letters in support of reopening businesses as well as requests for relief legislation. We quickly pivoted from delivering in-person events to virtual events, maintaining our high value proposition. Since March we’ve featured the following topics at our monthly luncheons: State of Education, State of the Cities, Congressional Update, Hanford Update and Covid-19 Update. Our Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon and the third Annual Tri-Cities Diversity Summit were held virtually as well. Additionally, the chamber has facilitated nearly a dozen Ask the Experts: Responding to Covid-19 webinars, a free webinar series highlighting timely topics during the pandemic. As the election season approached, we created the only region-wide, business-focused virtual candidate forums. The forums featured candidates from 12 races and were designed to highlight how candidate positions aligned with business priorities. Since March, the chamber’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center has helped small business clients secure more than $25 million in government contracts as well as assisting small manufacturers of PPE to connect with buyers. Most recently, the chamber partnered with Franklin County to provide the uMATTSON, Page A35


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Columbia Gardens evolves into destination area despite pandemic Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Port of Kennewick spent 2020 engaging in transparent urban planning; working to revitalize Kennewick’s historic waterfront district; and constructing a regional town center in place of the former Vista Field airport. At Vista Field the port is following a community-driven master plan to create a pedestrian-focused development with mixed-use neighborhoods and urban amenities. There were some materials, permitting and scheduling delays due to the pandemic but the project moved ahead.

Tim Arntzen Port of Kennewick

Vista Field construction was deemed an essential public benefit and work there continued in compliance with state and federal guidelines throughout 2020 – providing continued local employment and minimizing additional costs to taxpayers. With financial support from city of Kennewick, Benton County and Benton PUD, the first phase of Vista Field infrastructure is complete. This includes streets, sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, a pond, fountains, plaza and streamside esplanade. The port is now working to close the construction contract, define parcels and market available lots in the central 20 acres. Those lots will be sold to the privatesector for commercial, retail and residential development, and the proceeds will help fund future phases of infrastructure until the entire 103-acre site plan is complete. At full build-out, Vista Field is expected to generate more than $500 million in private-sector investment with more than 1,000 residential units and 740,000 square feet of commercial space. In east Kennewick, the port partnered with the city, county and the Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund Advisory Committee to expand on its Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village near the base of the cable bridge. The port finished construction of a fourth winery building and additional parking areas in early February, before the pandemic lockdowns. The new building houses tasting rooms for Cave B Estate Winery and Gordon Estate Winery. Those wineries were excited to join Bartholomew Winery and Monarcha/Palencia Wine Company which opened at Columbia Gardens in early 2018. Cave B and Gordon Estate had finished personalizing their tasting rooms and were planning a grand-opening celebration Covid-19 hit. The port was one of the first organizations to cancel planned public events.

The grand opening celebration was paused. After Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order took effect, the port’s hospitality tenants – including a hotel, restaurants, mobile vendors and the wineries – were forced to develop alternate methods of sales and service to survive. The port recognized a need for flexibility to sustain local jobs. It offered rent deferral to assist tenants during the extended closures. In support of our tenants, the port also added a shade Courtesy Kim Fetrow Photography/Port of Kennewick structure, lighting and The Port of Kennewick added a shade structure, lighting and seating improvements to the seating improvements Columbia Gardens Food Truck Plaza near the base of the cable bridge. A restroom and additional amenities, including a family playground, are planned for 2021. to the Columbia Gardens Food Truck In addition, the port began a new mas- sales enabled a new fire station and a Plaza. A restroom ter planning process for its Historic Ken- new police station for West Richland. In and additional amenities, including a family playground, are planned for 2021. newick Waterfront District properties. Richland, the port committed $800,000 Columbia Gardens is now home to six With no in-person workshops allowed, toward Columbia Park Trail improvea series of online forums were offered permanent food trucks offering a variety ments and another $400,000 toward the to involve the citizenry – resulting in of cuisine including BBQ, Asian-fusion, Center Parkway extension. authentic Mexican, Creole and soul food, greater community engagement than for In the coming years, Port of Kenneany project in the port’s history. bubble tea, snack foods, charcuterie wick will continue serving as an ecoplates and Mediterranean-inspired meals The port also continued its partnernomic development catalyst throughout and desserts. ship with the Army Corps of Engineers its 485-square-mile district. As it has The good news is that the wineries to restore Clover Island’s north shoreline done since its founding in 1915, the port and food trucks are open. Columbia Gar- and extend the island’s Riverwalk trail. will foster partnerships and implement dens is evolving into a destination area The project’s schedule was slowed when creative work plans which address evolvwith art installations, great food, wonder- design meetings were forced online; ful wines and a recreational path – all however, the Corps is now completing its ing community needs. nestled beside the scenic Duffy’s Pond. review and preparing that project for bid Six shovel-ready parcels are available Tim Arntzen is the Port of in 2021. for sale to stimulate additional privateIn other parts of its district, port land Kennewick CEO. sector development. Adjacent to Columbia Gardens is Clover Island, where the port and its partners have been working for more than a decade to add public amenities, improve the shoreline and create physical and visual access from the island to the Columbia River. The pandemic hit Clover Island from both sides. Traveling was restricted but outdoor recreation encouraged. As a result, its marina, boat launch and shoreline trails experienced their highest-ever volume of public use. But the cost to maintain the island increased dramatically when the state Department of Corrections pulled its work crews because the pandemic. Staff had to juggle resources, assignments and priorities to ensure cleanliness, sanitation, trash removal and landscaping standards such that the public continued to feel safe and welcome. The port added signage to the marina and implemented a life-jacket loaner program to encourage public safety. It approved patio expansions and created an advertising campaign to promote its Clover Island and Columbia Gardens development areas.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

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Hispanic chamber expands reach, services despite 2020’s challenges The Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (TCHCC) began, like I’m sure many other organizations, with great hopes and plans for 2020. We had a new board that was a good mix of seasoned and new directors. I also was optimistic as I took over the president’s position since our finances were solid and our standing in the community was positive and growing.

Martin Valadez Tri-City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The year started off very well. At our strategic planning session this January we set an ambitious goal of growing our membership significantly to help more small businesses in our community and to grow each of our three main events – our Spring Gala, mariachi festival and annual dinner – as well as attendance at our monthly events. We also wanted to increase our efforts and reach with Spanish-speaking business owners. In January and February everything went well with two very successful luncheons focused on the Pasco-Colima Cooperation and Friendship Agreement (by Michael Morales) and the Procurement and Technical Assistance program

(by Jody O’Connor). We were very excited about our March luncheon on “The State of Higher Education in the Tri-Cities,” as well as preparations for our Una Noche de Éxitos community awards event scheduled when we had to put a stop to all our face-to-face events. Like many, we initially did not know how long these directives were going to last, and we were optimistic about holding our Mariachi and More event in June, restarting our face-to-face luncheons in the summer, and certainly having our end-ofthe-year annual dinner in December. But this was not to be. We initially worked with other organizations like the Greater Columbia Accountable Community of Health and the Benton-Franklin Health District to get out information about Covid-19 and the precautions that both business and individuals should take. I participated in a community-wide TV awareness campaign. We helped translate documents to Spanish, and we even filmed our own “mask up” video campaign in Spanish on social media with the help of trusted community messengers like Gabriela Araico from Tri-Cities Community Health, insurance agent Nicolas Zavala, Dr. Maricela Sanchez, Deacon Victor Ortega from Chaplaincy Health, and Brisa Guajardo from Community Health Plan of Washington. As the economic effects of business closures were being felt, we signed a contract with the Department of Commerce to

Photo by TCAJOB The Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce presented business and leadership awards and gave winners gift cards to support local businesses and help out the community during its Una Noche de Éxitos event in the fall.

help small business owners, particularly those historically underserved communities, with technical assistance and especially with the Small Business Resiliency Grants. We helped get the word out, in Spanish and English, to many small businesses in Benton and Franklin counties and also helped many of them apply. More than 25 businesses we worked with received funding, from $3,500 to $10,000. This Department of Commerce grant ended in August, but, since the economic impact of Covid-19 continued, we signed another contract. This time, however, our work expanded beyond Benton and Franklin counties and now encompassed small businesses in Walla Walla, Grant and

Adams counties. To successfully carry out this work, we partnered with organizations like the Grant County Economic Development Council as well some chambers and municipalities in those counties. As with the first grant, our primary focus was helping them apply for grants from the Department of Washington (Round two of the Small Business Resiliency grants) but also local grants being administered by or through the local counties, cities and other local entities. As with the first contract, we did outreach and helped individuals in Spanish and English, and we are happy to say uVALADEZ, Page A40


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Great Depression changed America for the better. So will 2020 pandemic When we look back 20 years from now at the year 2020, I hope we will see this was a launching point for major achievements for our region and nation. I believe there will be a change in how we continue to live our lives, and history points to shifts in human behavior after periods of strife. With this in mind, the Pasco Chamber of Commerce is goal setting to prepare for opportunities as we move forward. My grandparents grew up during the Depression era. They continued to save plastic foam meat trays until they passed away. As I was growing up, I witnessed the permanent effects of the Great Depression on their lifestyle. Food wasn’t thrown away. Leftovers made the neighborhood squirrels in Pasco fatter, fed the dog and often ended up in my grandfather’s famous grits with chopped leftovers as featured ingredients. But the Depression brought us major technological advances. Agriculture became much more efficient and production techniques and applications increased yields dramatically, primarily driven by the Dust Bowl and weak commodity prices. Locally, we began the foundation of creating the great Columbia Basin, capitalizing on the abundance of water and rich soil. This led to irrigation with the construction of Grand Coulee Dam, allowing a desert to turn into a prime agriculture-producing region. The Depression also saw the invention of sliced bread, nylon toothbrushes and car radios – all this we all use daily nearly 100 years later. What can we take away as positives from 2020? Virtual meetings created a new efficiency by eliminating travel time. Meetings take less time than in person. We also schedule meetings more often in each workday. A drawback is missing human connection that is important to our health and minimizing effective networking that made those meetings take longer. However, this was an excellent opportunity for me and many other families – spending more time together as families and eliminating the rush of “normal” life.

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Colin Hastings Pasco Chamber of Commerce

Sure, that poses new challenges, such as remote learning and interruptions during Zoom calls inquiring as to what was for lunch. Our dogs seem to be thrilled with the new setup, yet the cats still really don’t care.  I believe there will be a permanent shift to remote working for some industries. Some studies show efficiency is maintained in these new hybrid work environments with a decrease in overhead for the business. With this shift, our region is seeing an influx of transplants from Seattle and Portland. This has been indicated by the strong housing market in the Tri-Cities over the summer. Anecdotally, we have seen an increase in calls to the Pasco Chamber inquiring about our area. These transplants bring with them higher earnings, but will they use that money to shop local businesses or will they seek goods normally found in metro areas via online shopping platforms? Are they going to bring their ideals and politics that led to policies they are escaping from? It will be interesting how brick-andmortar retail adapt as we come out of this period. Restaurants and clothing stores have suffered immensely, yet food trucks and online shopping have maintained or increased. Will remote work and shifting away from traditional retail have a lasting effect on commercial property?  Energy production is more apparent than ever. The increasing need for constant reliable energy is monumental. Washington state has an aggressive goal to rely on 100% clean energy by 2045. As fossil fuel energy plants such as the Portland General Electric coal plant at Boardman, Oregon, shut down, we need

Photo by TCAJOB The Pasco Chamber of Commerce pivoted away from its large community event RiverFest to produce a documentary, “Our Rivers, Our Life,” which tells the story of the area’s river system.

to focus on not ending up like California with brownouts and blackouts. We need to maintain baseload energy such as hydropower and add additional energy sources by expanding nuclear. The Pasco Chamber has endured its fair share of interruption of normal routine with cancellations of events with large gatherings. We have adapted and explored new opportunities. For example, RiverFest pivoted away from a large community event drawing thousands of families to Columbia Park to celebrate our river system, to create a quality documentary titled, “Our Rivers, Our Life.” This hourlong presentation has engaged thousands in the Northwest telling the story of our river system. Watch it at riverfestwa.com. We also helped disperse $400,000 in federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act business grants on behalf of Franklin County in a matter of hours.  This indicates the hardship that many small businesses are facing due to restrictions and lockdowns. In April, the Pasco Chamber urged the governor not to shut down business and to take an approach that would provide measures to keep our population safe but not impact chosen businesses, adversely affecting

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their livelihood. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses and livelihoods are casualties of war against a virus that can’t be defeated by actions that are influenced by political whims. As Franklin County businesses continue to fight for their livelihoods, the Pasco Chamber seeks to find compromises in their ability to function in some capacity and keep their doors open. The Pasco Chamber will advocate on behalf of our businesses and community to foster growth and adaptation for the future. What will be life changing that is invented because of our recent experiences? I am hopeful that there will be a perfect environment for businesses to become more innovative. Perhaps, the biggest inventions will come in the areas of biotech, medical devices, transportation, broadband, energy and hygiene. We have the resources in our region to make that happen. We can all agree that 2020 has been a different year but looking back, I expect we’ll find that it was the catalyst for a lot of positive change for both our region and our nation. Colin Hastings is executive director of the Pasco Chamber of Commerce.


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Port of Benton ticked through to-do list despite Covid-19 challenges 2020 started as a year of transition, followed by a global pandemic and an unprecedented new way of doing business. Your Port of Benton team stepped up, setting the bar high by delivering a new website and accelerating digital communications, key capital projects and organizational improvements. These achievements demonstrate the team’s flexibility and commitment to meeting the port’s strategic objectives. Completion of our $2 million rail bridge rehabilitation project opens the door for further improvements to safety and traffic conditions. Façade enhancements to the Chukar Cherries building in Prosser made impactful change to the facility by incorporating updated branding. It is a wonderful representation of the importance of value-added agriculture to our region. The Richland Airport master plan process kicked off in 2020, and we encourage ongoing community engagement as the process progresses. See our website for updates. We will continue to work with the community and our partners to ensure our assets remain a worthy investment to the taxpayers. To that end, we had several virtual discussions with our team and community partners, as well as one-on-one interviews with private industry, to develop an organizational vision, strategic, comprehensive and continuity plans that

Diahann Howard Port of Benton

were used as part of our 2021 budget development. We want our new strategic plan to hold the port accountable, while keeping us innovative, ambitious, focused on safety, effectiveness and resilience, along with sound governance. Our focus continues to be agribusiness land sales in Vintner’s Village in Prosser, along with fulfilling the spirit and intent for ongoing education and tourism within the Walter Clore Center in Prosser. In north Richland we are focused on working with the Tri-Cities Research District that includes the city of Richland, city of Pasco, Energy Northwest, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Columbia Basin College and Washington State University Tri-Cities, along with other key businesses and organizations that are focused on technology-led economic development and commercialization. One primary goal is to ready land in north Richland along the city of Richland to begin our marketing and recruitment

Courtesy Port of Benton The Port of Benton’s focus continues to be agribusiness land sales at Vintner’s Village, a co-located winery and retail business park with numerous lots available for development in Prosser.

efforts to support advanced manufacturing and its supply chain and research needs. We will seek to provide opportunities for growth and further development of the Manhattan National Park and Hanford History Project as our region grows in STEM Tourism. Economic development is a long-term game. A couple of examples are our previous work and investment working with TRIDEC’s IT Taskforce and the city of Richland that brought in $1.2 million of broadband investment into the research district. This regional review allowed further investment by local utilities to extend and coordinate service into Prosser,

providing the Tri-Cities much-needed bandwidth redundancy. We will continue to implement our plans by developing a Wi-Fi mesh network in 2021 throughout the 2,875-acre research district. The network will allow users to walk from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to Washington State University Tri-Cities and stream connections from one campus to the other. Further joint investments and coordination with the city of Richland led to $10 million in roads and utility investment that resulted in over $494 million in private investment and 700 jobs. We will continue to follow the research district master plan, Port Heritage Resources Management Plan and the Port of Benton’s Strategic Plan to continue to leverage these investments with plans to design and build a commercialization building in 2021-22; we will continue improvements within our existing facilities and assets that support private industry investment, projects and jobs. Although our port team faced challenges, it executed and delivered to accomplish a great deal this year. We will build on our successes and strive to do so at the highest level. We are honored to be of service as a viable community asset committed to supporting and strengthening our fragile economy post-Covid-19. We will be cautious but optimistic moving into 2021. We thank our commission, all the amazing downtown associations, Benton County, city of Richland, city of Prosser, city of Benton City, chambers, Prosser Economic Development Association and Tri-City Development Council for their frontline efforts and coordination with us to provide services and support of our small business community. We are inspired by their spirit and renewed with gratitude and grit as we stand by them along with our community during a historical and unprecedented time. Diahann Howard is executive director of the Port of Benton in Richland.


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Clock ticking on 2020 year-end tax-saving strategies Year-end is the perfect time to do tax planning. And what a tax year 2020 has been! Let’s review the urgent items that can still be taken advantage of before the New Year’s ball drops.

Covid-19-related distributions, loans The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, changed the rules for certain distributions and loans from retirement plans for people who have experienced adverse financial consequences due to Covid-19. To qualify, you, your spouse or dependent must have tested positive for Covid-19 or have experienced a financial hardship due to Covid-19. The CARES Act allows up to a $100,000 distribution exemption from defined contribution plans like a 401(k) and IRAs if the distribution occurs due to a Covid-19 hardship. Qualified distributions are exempt from the 10% early withdrawal penalty for individuals under 59½ and the mandatory 20% tax withholding from qualified plans like a 401(k). Income can be taxed proportionally over three years starting in the year of distribution and/or can be paid back if redeposited into an eligible retirement account within three years of the date of the distribution. The CARES Act allows the current plan loan repayment date to be delayed for up to 12 months. If no additional legislation is passed, this will expire Dec. 31, 2020. Charitable gifts Anyone who is charitably inclined in 2020 can take advantage of donating up to $300 in cash to qualified charities and deduct that without itemizing. This is referred to as an above-the-line deduction. This temporary exemption expires on Dec. 31, 2020. MATTSON, From page A30 Franklin County Rapid Response Business Grant program. During November, our team reviewed 137 applications and awarded a total of $600,000 to 64 Franklin County businesses in crisis due to government mandated Covid-19 closures. While grant funds will be unable to mitigate all the damage caused by the pandemic, it is hoped that these funds may provide some measure of support as businesses operate under difficult circumstances. In continuing to fulfill our role as catalyst for business growth, convenor for leaders and champion for a strong community, the Tri-City Regional Chamber will continue to marshal all our resources to help companies prepare for a safe, successful and sustainable reopening of the economy. Lori Mattson is president and CEO of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Angie FurubottenLaRosee Avea Financial Planning LLC

RMDs waived in 2020 Required minimum distributions, or RMDs, were waived in 2020. For charitable folks, one way to take advantage of this is by doing a qualified charitable distribution, or QCD, to give money to charity tax-free. This can only be done by donors who have an IRA and are 70½ or older. A QCD is a distribution from an IRA direct to a qualified charitable organization and is limited to $100,000 a year. The benefits are that the donation counts as an RMD; it is not counted as taxable income to the donor and the charity gets their money. It’s a win-win. Low-income year advantages Your household income may have been reduced in 2020 due to the elimination of required minimum distributions or job loss. Lower income equals lower taxes, opening a window of opportunity for taking capital gains or doing a Roth conversion while keeping you in a lower tax bracket.

By playing this tax game, one tries to figure out when one can pay the least in taxes. These smart money moves you make this year can help reduce taxes now and give you greater planning flexibility when you will be required to start Social Security and distribute from pre-tax retirement accounts.

More on Roth conversions With increasing national debt and now Covid-19, there are many who argue that taxes have only one direction to go – up. While that remains to be seen (maybe Santa will bring me a crystal ball for Christmas?) planning with an eye for taxes is an integral part of ongoing, comprehensive financial planning. One favorite strategy is the Roth conversion. This is a relatively simple technique to convert pre-tax money to after-tax money and pay taxes at the time you think it will be the most beneficial to you, typically a low-income year. It has the added benefit of diversifying the different buckets of money you ultimately have (taxable, pre-tax, after-tax). The thing to remember is you will owe ordinary income taxes on a conversion. You’ll want to pay taxes with money from outside of the Roth to maximize the conversion. Business owners who can control their company retirement plan options may want to allow for Roth conversions within their plan for added flexibility.

Small business retirement plans For some small businesses, 2020 was a banner year, and now reducing taxes is top of mind. It can be hard to cough up additional expenses or deductions late in the year but here is one: Start a 401(k) plan. Although not unique to 2020, plans must be started by year end. Not only can employer contributions lower the business tax liability, they also can help the owner and employees save for their retirement. With a flexible plan design, it can open the door to a backdoor or mega backdoor Roth, a creative way for high-income taxpayers to fund a Roth. Unless additional legislation is passed, these temporary changes for 2020 are gone for good by the time they start playing “Auld Lang Syne.” Taxes are complex, changing quickly and should be considered within your personal situation and financial goals. But don’t let the tax tail wag the dog. A fiduciary, fee-only comprehensive financial planner can help you evaluate tax saving strategies within the context of your greater financial life. Angie Furubotten-LaRosee is a certified financial planner, speaker, podcaster and founder of Avea Financial Planning LLC, a Richlandbased financial advice and investment management firm for women nearing or in retirement.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

Year

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Robust Tri-City population trends expected to continue 300,000

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tions.) So our state’s demographers do not think that a 2% growth rate will last but still point to robust increases. On a cumulative basis, the expected 36% growth represents not only the fastest growth of any metro area in Eastern Washington, but the most rapid increase in any county in the state. This projected growth raises several questions. First, which component – in-migration or natural increase – will dominate the increase? The answer to that question will affect a myriad of activities and organizations in the greater Tri-Cities. For example, if most of the gain comes from natural increase, the school districts will need to keep expansion in mind. If, however, most of the growth stems

24%

19

GUEST COLUMN

Total Population & Annual Growth Rate 330,000

Total Population

D. Patrick Jones Eastern Washington University

developed one for 20 years from now. In 2040, demographers at the agency see the population in the two counties at about 410,000. (This is the “midrange” scenario from the Growth Management Act calcula-

Annual Growth Rate

As we close out a tumultuous year where the pandemic has stolen so much of our attention, it might help to step back from the daily challenges and appreciate a fundamental demographic of life here: the greater Tri-Cities continue to grow. Demographics may not drive destiny, but they certainly influence it. Unlike many parts of Eastern Washington, the two counties continue to add residents at a brisk pace. The April 1 estimate by demographers at the Office of Financial Management, or OFM, put the population of the two counties over 300,000 for the first time. This is easily observed in BentonFranklin Trends graph. The 2020 estimate was nearly 302,500. That represents a gain of about 50,000 residents over the decade beginning in 2010. The lines in the graph represent year-over-year percentage change, and it is clear the growth rate in the two counties has exceed the strong rate of the state for the past three years. On a cumulative basis since 2010, population in the two counties expanded by 20%, easily outpacing the cumulative growth statewide of 14%. In recent times, the annual growth rate here has been over 2%. If a 2% growth rate were to hold over the next 35 years, the future two counties would count slightly over 600,000 residents. OFM hasn’t developed a forecast that extends 35 years into the future but has

This graph was downloaded on 12/8/2020 from www.bentonfranklintrends.org

Benton & Franklin Counties - Population Benton & Franklin Counties - Annual Growth Rate Washington State - Annual Growth Rate United States - Annual Growth Rate

Courtesy Benton-Franklin Trends

from people discovering the two counties and moving here, then school districts will not experience the same attendance pressure. Either way, municipal government will be impacted – on both the revenue and service delivery sides. Retail sales will definitely climb but their mix will differ, depending on the age profile of the new residents. Currently, the greater Tri-Cities sport one of the lowest age profiles in the state, as Trends data on median age shows. By 2040, what will be the general age of the new residents? It is this

observer’s guess that it won’t be as low as in 2019 at 34.5 years. Health care providers will definitely want to know by how much the median age, and in particular the share of the 65+ population, will climb. Currently, the share of seniors in the population of the greater Tri-Cities is 14%, the lowest among all Eastern Washington metros. Second, where will the additional 100,000 residents go within the two counties? Since 2010, cumulative population uJONES, Page A37


Q&A Number of employees you oversee: The Benton-Franklin Health District employs almost 95 individuals, although with the Covid-19 response, there are additional temporary staff assisting with contact tracing and data management. I engage with all staff, but my role is not supervisory. Brief background of your organization: For the last eight months, BFHD has been primarily been engaged in the Covid-19 pandemic response. The BFHD has been serving Benton and Franklin counties since 1946. Public health in the broadest sense works with the community to ensure that all of us can learn, work, play and thrive to our greatest potential. The role of the BFHD and public health has evolved over time. We’re working collectively and strategically with community partners, not just in health care, but in education, business and grassroots coalitions to eliminate the barriers that keep people from being healthy. BFHD’s work includes immunizations, inspecting food establishments, partnering with new mothers through intensive visiting home nurse programs, working with local municipalities to increase walkability or building community resiliency to address adverse childhood experiences. How did you land your current role? Fortune smiled, I was looking for new opportunities when the position became available.

TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

DR. AMY PERSON

Health Officer Benton-Franklin Health District

healthy neighborhoods and healthy environments improve length of life and more importantly, quality of life. One dollar spent on community health saves $5.50 in health care costs so it’s a wise investment as well. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? Thick skin – you need to be able to focus on your goals and not take criticism or bad press personally. What is the biggest challenge facing business owners/managers today? In public health, one of the biggest issues is succession planning as many public health leaders are nearing or passing retirement age. If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your industry? Sustainable funding for public health to address the systemic, preventable issues that keep people from achieving their highest level of health. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? Be strong enough to be vulnerable. Too often people feel that they are giving up power if they ask for help or admit their mistakes.

How long have you been in it? 9 years.

Who are your role models or mentors? My mother – her journey as a woman and person of color moving up in the field of nuclear chemistry 60 years ago has helped me overcome adversity and racism as well.

Why should the Tri-Cities care about public health? Health impacts all areas of our lives. Healthy families, healthy workforces,

How do you keep your employees motivated? I believe that everyone can rise to their potential if they feel supported by

JONES, From page A36

Unless you prefer zero population growth, the current and forecasted population growth will be a net plus for the area. Economic development needs an accessible labor force. Public schools likely prefer to manage growth rather than decline. Local governments should enjoy an expanding tax base. Will there come a point, however, which marks too much of a good thing? Will some residents begin to think that the communities at the confluence of three rivers are in danger of a paradise lost? This writer’s hunch is perhaps, but not for a while, maybe a long while.

growth in Franklin County has outpaced that of Benton County, 26% vs. 18%. Of the three largest cities, Pasco’s count has been the strongest at 33%. West Richland actually grew as fast as Pasco, but isn’t covered in the Trends data. The implications for local government, real estate and school districts are obvious. Third, what will the racial and ethnic make-up of the greater Tri-Cities look like with at least 100,000 new residents? Currently, as Trends data reveals, minorities make up about 40% of the population. In the two counties, this share has risen gently but consistently over the past decade. The Franklin County share stood at 60% in 2019, by Census estimates. The consequences for people of color claiming an even higher share of the population fall on all aspects of life in the two counties – health, education, business, law enforcement and housing.

A37

D. Patrick Jones is the executive director for Eastern Washington University’s Institute for Public Policy & Economic Analysis. Benton-Franklin Trends, the institute’s project, uses local, state and federal data to measure the local economic, educational and civic life of Benton and Franklin counties.

their leadership and if they know they have permission to fail during that journey. How did you decide to pursue a career in public health? Throughout my two decades in medicine, I became increasingly aware of how much health was impacted by where people lived, not just their physical but also their social and emotional environment. Public health allows me to make a lasting contribution. How do you measure success in your workplace? Measuring success in public health requires a long-range view. Improving access to safe places to walk to healthy foods will reduce rates of obesity and diabetes, but not overnight, or a year or even five years. What do you consider your leadership style to be? The principles of servant leadership resonate with me. I consider empathy and listening to be my key assets. How do you balance work and family life? I’ve always been happiest working several jobs; making a difference in the world is what gives me reason to wake up every morning. Knowing that about myself, I chose not to pursue a family life.

Dr. Amy Person

What do you like to do when you are not at work? Improve my Mandarin language skills by watching Chinese soap operas on Netflix. What’s your best time management strategy? Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good. Best tip to relieve stress? I enjoy yoga as it helps me to center myself and keeps me aware of my body and when stress is starting to take its toll. What’s your favorite book? My favorite book is usually which ever one I’m reading now, but with the Covid-19 response, it’s been several months since I’ve had the time. Do you have a personal mantra, phrase or quote you like to use? Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

Seattle resident accused of bilking state for services in Tri-Cities By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

A Seattle woman faces felony theft charges in Franklin County Superior Court after she allegedly submitted $41,000 in phony bills to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries for translation services that did not occur. Carla C. Moreno, 33, aka Carla Cynthia Montes de Oca Moreno and Carla Moreno Montgomery, was arraigned Dec. 8 on first-degree theft and first-degree identity theft associated with phony invoices, forging interpreter’s signatures

uBUSINESS BRIEFS HomeStreet reports rising earnings, dividend, stock repurchase

HomeStreet Inc., parent to HomeStreet Bank, reported net income from continuing operations of $26.3 million or $1.16 per share for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, compared to $13.8 million and 55 cents the year prior. Mark Mason, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, said the bank benefited from decreased funding costs, high loan volumes and profitability in its home mortgage lending. It has also improved efficiency through cost cutting. Deposits rose to $5.8 billion, from $5.3 billion. Shareholder equity rose to $696.3 million, from $691 million over the same period, it said in its quarterly earnings report. Total liabilities and shareholder equity rose to $7.4 billion, from $6.8 billion, it said. HomeStreet paid a dividend of 15 cents per share on Nov. 23 and repurchased 1 million shares of its outstanding common stock. It repurchased an addi-

and sending unqualified people to client appointments. The charges cover a period between 2014 and 2017, when the Seattle resident operated two similarly named interpreter services, The Language Spot and Language Spot, both based in Pasco. According to L&I, Moreno hired independent contractors to provide language interpretation at medical and physical therapy appointments for Spanish-speaking workers with injury claims with the department. L&I workers sought an internal investigation when they noticed discrepancies

in billings in 2016, triggering a two-anda-half-year investigation by L&I and the state attorney general’s office. An audit uncovered 558 fraudulent bills. On some, she falsified signatures of certified interpreters and physicians. The same audit found that Moreno, who was a certified interpreter, submitted 89 claims for services she rendered in the Tri-Cities while she was physically in Seattle, where she was a student at the University of Washington. In addition to filing fraudulent bills, Moreno is accused of hiring unqualified interpreters to accompany injured work-

ers, putting their ability to communicate with doctors and other service providers at risk. Moreno applied for provider numbers for four certified interpreters, three of whom did not work for her, and used the information to submit bills. In one case, a certified interpreter was shown 60 bills with his name on it. He had stopped working for Moreno a year before the billing date. She stopped billing the state in 2017. Through an attorney, she declined to be interviewed for the investigation.

tional 210,000 shares in October, which will be recorded in its fourth quarter earnings report. It has repurchased 20% of its outstanding shares since 2019. HomeStreet has offices in Kennewick and Richland.

State’s largest credit union commits $5M to racial equity

BECU, the credit union associated with the Boeing Co., is committing $5 million over five years to support Black communities and racial equity in the state. The Black Community Development Project will partner with local nonprofits to improve the overall emotional, physical and financial health of Black communities. It is led by Black leaders and employs a multicultural staff that represents the communities served. The investment is the first in a series of steps to support Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Communities. BECU serves more than 1.2 members and with more than $25 billion in assets, is easily the largest credit union in Washington.

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Courtesy Kelly Buchanan Christ the King Montessori Preschool teachers Debbie Cleveland, from left, Kelly Buchanan and Aliana Kincaid operate three independent classrooms inside the new building on the Christ the King campus in Richland.

MONTESSORI, From page A11 to their brain development. The teachers noticed that many students had lost all of the skills they had worked on during the 2019-20 school year once school went all-virtual in March. “The quality of TV shows is so much different than it was just a decade ago when ‘Dora the Explorer’ and ‘Little Einsteins’ were popular,” she said. She said kids aren’t benefiting from learning their numbers or sounds in the way they used to from preschool programming. Montessori classrooms offer opportunities to learn fine motor skills to sew, grind coffee beans (not to be eaten), arrange flowers, polish wood and develop language skills with the use of a dollhouse. “Everything we have is for the child to create independence and it’s not the same as what they have at home,” Buchanan said.

Generosity makes it possible Supporting an environment critical to retaining or increasing enrollment at the K-8 school was attractive to the Fergusons, who were looking to make a large charitable donation using profits earned from the sale of a company and its stock. Bob declined to share his total in-

vestment in the project and Christ the King didn’t reveal the final figures, but a building permit issued from the city of Richland valued the project at $850,000. The general contractor was Siefken & Sons Construction Inc. The school focuses on a different character virtue each month and the virtue of generosity is fitting for the month the school opened, completed with the assistance of additional donations besides the Fergusons’ contribution. “It’s wonderful to have the space to expand enrollment for our little ones,” said Monsignor Thomas Champoux, pastor of Christ the King. “Here, we hope to help them learn, not only numbers and letters and shapes, but selfmanagement and how to apply knowledge throughout their school years and into the rest of their lives. Most of all, we want them to learn about God’s love, and know that his love lasts forever.” Prior to her death, Katie also helped coordinate Christmas concerts to benefit Christ the King Catholic School, headlined by her brother, Howard Crosby. Singer Bing Crosby was their uncle. Registration for the 2021-22 preschool year will open in late January. A dedication of the Ferguson Education Center is planned in March and will include a commissioned mural for the lobby featuring butterflies.


TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

A39

There’s no need for Uncle Sam to take a cut when a company splits Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is beta testing a new satellite-provided broadband internet service through its Starlink brand. At times, reports have come out that SpaceX planned to spin off Starlink. Other reports quoted the SpaceX founder Elon Musk saying he had no plan to spin off Starlink. The bandied spinoff idea can be intriguing to follow not only for SpaceX, but also for other corporations. What does it mean to spin off a part of a corporation and what are the different mechanisms for accomplishing a corporate break-up? Why would a corporation choose to engage in a corporate breakup? In broad terms, there are three main mechanisms to facilitate a corporate breakup: the spinoff, the split-off and the split-up. Each achieves a different outcome for the corporation that this column will not explore. But, in simplified terms, the breakup options all accomplish the goal of taking a whole corporation and separating it into distinct businesses. The businesses may, but need not, operate independent of each other. Or, the businesses may operate independent, but under a common owner (such as a holding company). The breakup of a corporation is an example of a corporate “reorganization”

DYE, From page A28 guidelines that later became a requirement for re-opening. Local CARES grants: After assisting on the Working Washington grants, TRIDEC also was able to work with Benton County, Franklin County and the city of West Richland to set up business grants utilizing their designated portions of CARES Act funding. TRIDEC helped local businesses with the complicated application process to qualify. When more Washington Commerce funds were added for both counties, local businesses received $8 million in grants: Benton County: 294 grants, worth $4.2 million Franklin County: 273 grants, worth $3.3 million. City of West Richland: 48 grants, worth $425,000. Coffee with Karl: Shortly after the TRIDEC team closed our office and began working from home, they came up with a great idea: Coffee with Karl. Almost every Friday for the past 30 weeks, we have invited local guests to a Zoom webinar where we share a cup of coffee or other beverage with the viewers while discussing their company, organization or current event. These programs have allowed me to meet so many community leaders (some of them for the very first time) remotely while learning more about specific topics. You can access our episodes at tridec.org/cwk.

contemplated under the Internal Revenue Code section 368. And, though the U.S. tax code provides broad authority to Beau Ruff tax corporate Cornerstone distributions Wealth Strategies of any kind, GUEST COLUMN the various breakup options can be structured to avoid triggering that same income tax. This tax treatment can be beneficial for those that engage in qualified corporate divisions. Corporations and their governing bodies have countless reasons to engage in corporate breakups. The corporation may want to take advantage of (or avoid) various tax and regulatory jurisdictions. The corporation may want to separate two or more materially different business enterprises that the corporate governance deems better managed by two distinct set of governors. The Hewlett Packard Company notably broke up into Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company and HP Inc. in 2015 and each is still run as a separate company with separate business lines. Perhaps the corporation decides to

Looking ahead While TRIDEC has been working to bring resources to bear on the local impacts of the pandemic, we are encouraged by the opportunities to start, grow and attract businesses. The Tri-Cities continues to build our base of food processing companies that realize the strength of our skilled labor force, proximity to their crops and markets as well as available infrastructure. Additionally, in October the U.S. Department of Energy selected two companies that have both partnered with Energy Northwest for the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. Moving forward, we will be working with Energy Northwest, X-energy and TerraPower/GE-Hitachi to support building their new reactor designs at existing Energy Northwest sites. This will not only add hundreds of jobs in construction and operations to our community but also will give TRIDEC and our partners the chance to build supply chains in nuclear manufacturing and advanced fuels production. (See story on page A17) This year has presented many challenges, but as we look back on 2020, we are proud of how our community has come together to overcome them and continue to move the Tri-Cities forward. Karl Dye is president and CEO of the Tri-City Development Council.

sell a portion of a corporation. In this scenario, a corporate breakup would allow the seller to still engage in a stock sale transaction but the stock being sold can be specific to the portion of the business being sold. Perhaps the corporation has decided to list a portion of the corporation on a stock exchange to create additional funding while retaining the remaining portion under private ownership to preserve ownership and avoid the regulatory oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission or other entities that oversee publicly-traded corporations. A corporate breakup need not only occur on Wall Street; similar considerations might prompt a corporate breakup on Main Street as well. A common Main Street scenario that might prompt the use of a corporate division under IRC 368 is corporate governance. Imagine two owners that run Company ABC. Company ABC is a landscaping and lawn maintenance company. The two owners combined their services and know-how to create a onestop shop for homeowners and business owners looking to solve for their landscaping and lawn maintenance needs. One owner is primarily involved in landscaping. One is primarily involved in lawn maintenance. After a while, as sometimes happens, the owners become

disenchanted with each other. The lawn maintenance owner touts his consistent recurring revenue and low-risk operations. The landscaping owner touts his big projects that provide the bulk of the revenue for the company. Each believes they would be better off without the other. The company can engage in a taxfree split-up. The company can value its assets and revenue streams. It can create one or two new companies. And, it can transfer assets to the new companies (lawn care equipment and customer lists to one company and landscaping equipment and office machines to the other). Then, the stock of the old company is exchanged – each owner trades his 50% of Company ABC in exchange for 100% of one of the new companies. Each owner is then free to run his or her business as desired. Importantly, neither owner need pay any income tax incident to the division of assets. They will just need to pay some money to the attorney and accountant assisting in the tax-free corporate division. Beau Ruff, a licensed attorney, is the director of planning at Cornerstone Wealth Strategies, a full-service independent investment management and financial planning firm in Kennewick.

from the Journal of Business team – Melanie, Kristina, Wendy, Tiffany, Chad and Vanessa!


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

VALADEZ, From page A32 that the businesses we served received over $500,000 in grants. And this work continues until the end of December since the Department of Commerce recently announce a third round of funds focused on the businesses (restaurants, gyms, bars, etc.) most impacted by the most recent closing announced by the governor. TCHCC also partnered with other organizations who were either distributing funds or helping businesses navigate the directives on safely opening. We translated or reviewed materials for the Walla Walla Chamber and TRIDEC, coordinated with other economic development organizations, and served on committees with the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce. Even though our focus is on business because of the need created by the pan-

demic and our special connection with and understanding of the Latino and Spanishspeaking community, we signed a contract with Benton County to conduct outreach about and help individuals with the Rental Assistance/Eviction Prevention Program funded with CARES Act funds. Through this work we helped hundreds of individuals find out about and receive help covering up to 80% of three months of rent. While doing all of this we eventually returned to some of our “tradition” programs, albeit remotely, over the summer when we realized we could not wait any longer. We (re)started having our virtual luncheons in July and continue having them each month. While we had to cancel our Mariachi and More festival, we did have

our Una Tarde de Éxitos awards event in October where we recognized eight outstanding individuals who are positively contributing to the Latino and greater TriCity community. While this has been a challenging year for everyone, there are several opportunities that have come out of this that I want to point out. First, because of the funds we received from the contracts, we were able to touch, serve and help many more businesses and individuals than we have in the past. Second, the effort encouraged us to reach out and work with many partners that we had not previously worked with, such as the Tri-City Immigrant Coalition, Lowe’s of Pasco and organizations in Walla Walla, Grant and Adams counties. Finally, we are happy that more indi-

viduals and small businesses in the Tri-Cities are aware that we are here, and that if we cannot help them directly, we will find another organization that can. Covid-19 is still here and it will be a long while before things are back to “the new normal” but we are ready to continue working and helping small businesses as well as individuals. We will continue partnering with local, state, and national organizations to do with work, and we want to thank the Group Health Foundation for a grant we received earlier this year which will allow us to continue providing assistance to businesses, even if they are not yet chamber members. Martin Valadez is the president of the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

A41

Hostilities linger at Port of Kennewick over Farm Workers Clinic land sale By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

A dustup over a 2019 land sale next to the Vista Field redevelopment site continues to roil the Port of Kennewick. At a December hearing, Commissioner Don Barnes appealed sanctions levied after an investigator concluded he violated port rules through his efforts to halt a private sale of five acres to Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic. Barnes eventually withdrew his objections, and the deal went through. The nonprofit is building a $20 million clinic there now. The two-hour appeal hearing, held by telephone, included insults and multiple allegations of misconduct by Barnes and by the port’s chief executive, Tim Arntzen. A ruling is due in mid-December, after deadline for this publication. If the sanctions are upheld, Barnes will be required to undergo teambuilding training and to have the reprimand published in the Tri-City Herald. Barnes and fellow commissioner Tom

Moak both were sanctioned for their conduct as the port considered if it should exercise a buyback clause for the property at North Kellogg Street and West Rio Grande Street in early 2019. Had they done so, the port and not Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic would own the property and the clinic would not be under construction. The port held the buyback clause after it sold the land to a local investor, Jerry Ivy Jr. in 2004. Ivy held the undeveloped property for 15 years before reaching a $1.8 million deal with Yakima Valley Farm Workers. Before the deal could close, the port had to sign off on the buyback clause. Barnes opposed the waiver, arguing the port should consider reacquiring the land for inclusion the neighboring Vista Field redevelopment. Port staff disagreed, leading to heated meetings and complaints. The port hired an outside investigator to review the matter after receiving an anonymous complaint, which Commissioner Skip Novakovich later acknowledged he

wrote. The investigation led to the sanctions against Barnes and Moak. The matter is expected to cost more than $100,000 to resolve. Moak apologized for yelling at Arntzen during an executive session and accepted the sanctions. He won re-election in 2019, winning more than 57% of the vote over challenger V.J. Meadows. But Barnes, who faces re-election in 2021, exercised his right to appeal, leading to the contentious hearing. Attorneys for both sides spent two hours lobbing mutual insults. Michael King, representing the port, said Barnes subverted open government when he contacted a consultant working on the Vista Field project seeking support. He also contacted the Washington State Auditor’s Office to ask about the rules for tracking buyback clauses. There is a reason for the port’s rules requiring commissioners to address issues through staff. It ensures the public’s business is not carried out in private, King said. “It’s about open government. Commis-

sioner Barnes lost track. He was angry about the Ivy property. Getting angry is not a right,” he said. But Joel Comfort, representing Barnes, said it was his client’s job as an elected official to question management. There should have been a robust discussion about the “Ivy” property and its potential role in Vista Field, the 103-acre redevelopment project led by the port. Forcing Barnes to submit questions to staff suggests commissioners serve at the pleasure of the staff instead of the other way around, Comfort said. “These are elected officials. They get to get information,” he said. “Just because the CEO (chief executive officer) says, ‘You need to go through me,’ doesn’t mean that’s the case. I see a controlling port CEO that doesn’t like to be scrutinized or criticized,” he added. Judge Paris Kallas heard the appeal and was expected to issue a decision around Dec. 11. This story will be updated with the judge’s decision at tcjournal.biz.

No shame here: UW bioethicist advocates for sex robots for seniors By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

The term “sex robots” may raise some eyebrows, but Nancy S. Jecker, professor of bioethics and humanities at the University of Washington, is not having it. Jecker published a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics encouraging the manufacturers developing sex robots for young, straight men to expand their market. The existing technology could be adapted to provide companionship and even sexual gratification to those 65 and over, she argues in the paper, “Nothing to be Ashamed Of: Sex Robots for Older Adults with Disabilities.” The current generation of sex robots is designed for and marketed to young, straight, white men, which is blatantly sexist, racist and ageist, Jecker said. The Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business reached out to Jecker to learn more about her research and what drew her attention to the idea of using robots for the most intimate of experiences. Jecker first started thinking about robots while researching her most recent book, “Ending Midlife Bias, New Values for Old Age” (Oxford University Press, 2020). She wrote a chapter about robots that support older adults with daily living tasks such as getting out of bed, eating, dressing and bathing. “CareBots” led her to robots that provide companionship, “FriendBots.” For older adults, particularly those who are iso-

uBUSINESS BRIEF Could your small business survive a cyberattack?

Washington state earned a D on a report card rating states for the likelihood its small businesses could recover from a cyberattack. Neighbors Oregon and California

lated and lonely, FriendBots can mitigate the unhealthy aspects of isolation. That led to viewing robot technology for more intimate functions. The technology exists, she said. She cites a New Jersey company that promotes its sex robots to young, healthy customers. She blames ageism and the natural tendency of tech executives – typically male, white and middle aged – to develop products in their own image. Marketing to older customers is a natural opportunity, she said. “I’m calling on industry to market themselves to an older clientele, a clientele that has age-related impairment of sexual function,” she said. Jecker’s research focuses on aging and aging populations and she has the résumé to back it up. She holds adjunct professorships in UW’s School of Law, Department of Global Health and Department of Philosophy. She is a visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa and the Chinese University of Hong Kong Centre for Bioethics and recently served on the board of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. She’s published more than 200 articles and four books focuses on aging and aging populations. Ageism is at the heart of her work and her work to promote sex robots with seniors in mind. Senior sexuality is an overlooked topic.

earned D’s as well. Idaho scored a B. The research by Verizon is based on the number of small businesses in the state in 2019, bankruptcy patterns, past history of data breaches and number of victim losses. Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts and Wyoming earned F’s. Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota and Vermont earned A’s.

The New England Journal of Medicine published the first serious research focuses on seniors living in their own homes 2007, she noted. “There is a tendency to think of older adults as needing protection rather than having sexual needs and desires,” she said. Jecker counters titters with seriousness. Sexual contact is about more than physical gratification, she said. Adults benefit from the personal and emotional connections they make through contact. It is at the core of human identity. “Those who focus on the pleasure principal shortchange the argument and miss it,” she said. For Jecker, the key takeaway is not for

physicians to begin writing prescriptions for sex robots for their older patients. Her paper on sex robots for seniors attracted attention and a few mostly serious headlines. She welcomes the idea that it could spark conversations that legitimize the need for intimacy at all ages. “We’re an aging society and ageism is a serious problem,” she said. “A great outcome would be for people’s eyes to open up and be aware.” An abstract and link to the full text of “Nothing to be Ashamed Of: Sex Robots for Older Adults with Disabilities” is posted at bit.ly/JeckerPaper.

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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

BUSINESS PROFILE

Polliwogs Children’s Boutique’s niche is ethical, sustainable apparel By Laura Kostad

for Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Polliwogs Children’s Boutique prides itself on offering an assortment of ethically and sustainably-sourced baby and children’s apparel, shoes and accessories. “I was actually really surprised that there were as many people who wanted that here,” said owner Alexa Orozco. Part of what motivated her to open the Richland store six years ago was her own struggle to find clothes for her son that met ethical and ecofriendly criteria – and were also cute. Opportunity knocked when a friend announced she was moving to California and would be vacating her children’s store in Richland’s Uptown Shopping Center, called Itsy Bitsy. “She asked if I had ever thought of owning a business and noted that I could take over her spot,” Orozco said. With the help of her sister and a mom with a business background in owning and running preschools, Polliwogs was born. At the start, Orozco had a goal of stocking the boutique with at least 70% ethically-produced merchandise and the other 30% sourced from companies with some ethical or eco-friendly production practices. Today, Orozco says about 90% of what she carries meets her criteria for being ethically and sustainably produced.

“Because my customers, that’s what they want, even if the price is a little bit more,” she said. So, what exactly defines ethical production? Typically, “ethically made” indicates a company’s commitment to providing fair wages, safe working conditions and other worker protections, as well as offering transparency about its business practices. Ethical also can include an environmental stewardship component related to the use of agricultural chemicals, fabric treatments and dyes, the treatment of wastewater and mitigation of other polluting agents involved in production, as well as using sustainable manufacturing models that conserve resources, use recycled inputs, reduce overall waste or offset carbon emissions. The tricky part is teasing out which companies and certifiers are the real deal, versus those simply “greenwashing,” or in other words, cashing in on buzz words like “organic,” “fair trade” and “sustainable,” without actually delivering behind the scenes the practices that consumers believe these terms represent. That’s where Orozco, Polliwogs’ sole employee, comes in. “I handpick all the brands we carry myself, do research and examine samples,” she said. She explained that most of her brand and product line leads come from Instagram.

Photos by Laura Kostad Alexa Orozco, owner of Polliwogs Children’s Boutique at 246 Williams Blvd., in Richland’s Uptown Shopping Center, hand selects and personally vets each brand the store carries for its commitment to ethical and sustainable manufacturing.

“You’d be surprised how much ethical stuff is on Instagram. Sometimes word of mouth goes around, and a lot of (business owners) are friends with each other that make these clothes,” she said. Polliwogs’ most popular brand is Rylee + Cru and their Quincy Mae label. Other notable brands the store carries includes Spearmint Baby, The Simple Folk, and their newest line, One Day Parade. She’s seeking out designers who establish ethics, love and uniqueness into each item made. “I really wanted them to be versatile timeless pieces that are fun and practical – something that’s good for your child and the environment made from nontoxic fabrics,” she said. She explained that quality and durability often go hand in hand with ethical and sustainably-produced products. “I have mothers who bought items from us six years ago; for example, pieces from her first child her third child is now wearing them. It’s the quality it’s made with,” she said. Polliwogs’ sizing spans newborn up to kids’ size 10 (size 12 coming this spring), though quantities in each size are usually limited so Orozco can continue cycling in new inventory on a weekly basis. It’s what’s kept Robyn Tiller and her granddaughter, Liv, coming in almost every Saturday. “The shop just has adorable clothes. I could buy anything in there,” Tiller said. “She has the cutest baby stuff in the whole world; whenever I have to do a shower or gift, I go there because I know it’s going to be good.”

Tiller said what she likes most about the shop is “you don’t have to go to the mall and you can buy unique stuff individual to the child or the family. ... I love everything about the shop. I love her, Alexa; she is one of the most beautiful people in the world, inside and out.” Tiller added that Polliwogs offers a wide variety of apparel to suit all occasions, and that Alexa is adept at helping customers put together outfits and pair accessories. “She knows her shop better than me, so if I’m looking for matching bows or headbands, I ask her,” she said. Tiller is also attracted to Polliwogs’ gender-neutral styles and colors, and appreciates that Orozco offers layaway. “We just feel like she’s our friend; we just love going in there, even if we don’t buy anything,” Tiller said. Though Polliwogs hasn’t yet ventured into toys due to space constraints, Orozco has added more shelving to accommodate the store’s growing offerings. At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Orozco opened an online storefront for Polliwogs, which now accounts for about 30% of its business. “We have been very blessed, even during the epidemic,” she said. “After being closed for three months, when we opened back up in August, our sales record went on to be the highest since we opened.” Polliwogs Children’s Boutique: Uptown Shopping Center, 246 Williams Blvd., Richland; 509-940-7725; polliwogsrichland.com; Facebook, Instagram.

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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

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Sporthaus has been serving Tri-City outdoor enthusiasts for 40 years By Jeff Morrow

for Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Steve McConnell’s life changed the day his parents took him skiing for the first time in his life. “I was a basketball player, but I was lucky that my folks introduced me to skiing when I was in seventh grade,” he said. “From the first time I skied down the hill, I knew I found my next sport.” And it’s been his main sport ever since. It also turned into his career. For decades, McConnell and his business partner, Bart Munson, have enjoyed helping customers find the right pair of skis, boots, etc., at Sporthaus Northwest in Kennewick. “I’m 67, and my wife keeps telling me to retire,” McConnell said. “But I like coming to work. My partner, who is three to four years younger than me, feels the same. As far as an exit strategy, we don’t have one.” Which is fine, because the pair love helping outdoor sports enthusiasts yearround. Three outdoor sports enthusiasts opened Sporthaus Northwest opened in 1980 – Jim McClelland was an original partner. Back then, the Tri-Cities had plenty of local sporting goods stores – Ski Racquet, BB&M, and Pete’s Sport Shop. But while those stores faded away, Sporthaus kept going. And even during a pandemic, the store continues to thrive. “The key has been good customer service,” McConnell said. “We struggled for years early on but we started getting repeat customers. Their kids are coming in now, and their kids have kids coming in.” A big reason is the staff’s expertise of the products. “It’s not just Bart and myself. We’ve got a good crew here. I’ve got a great staff,” McConnell said. Nearly every time Sporthaus Northwest employees – there are 10 full-time employees in the winter, 10 part time – head up a mountain, they usually bring along a few products to test. That allows them to feel confident in advising customers. “I test products every time I go up on a mountain,” McConnell said. “We shoot for 20 days every year to do that.” Shoulder surgery has kept McConnell off the slopes for a while. But now he’s ready, although “I probably won’t start until after Jan. 1.” The team is constantly learning about new products. “We are continually educated through Zoom, clinics, balancing and fitting. We get into that stuff,” McConnell said. That’s why customers keep coming back, he said. “In our state, there are only five or six stores that can do what we can do,” he said. “I’d tell local shoppers that we’re a unique store. You can’t find the services that we offer around here. Maybe Spokane. But we built our business. We’re good at it. We know that customers trust us.” McConnell said most of Sporthaus’ business comes during the winter season,

Courtesy Steve McConnell Sporthaus Northwest owners Steve McConnell, left, and Bart Munson stand in front of their ski inventory. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the store at 26 N. Columbia Center Blvd. in Kennewick.

about 60%. Of that business, 70% is skiing, while the rest is snowboarding. Skis are much easier to handle than snowboards, McConnell said, especially with rapidly changing technology. “Skis have changed a lot in the last 15 years,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of young families, where the father may have been a snowboarder in his younger days, but now is going back to skis. Mom and dad have their skis, and they get skis for the kids.” The store also rents ski packages. Sporthaus inherited the rental business about four years ago when the chain store Sports Authority shuttered its doors in Kennewick. For about $200, adults can rent a ski package for the season that includes boots, poles and skis. The store also offers ski and snowboard services to tune up, wax or repair gear. McConnell said he has noticed a change in shopping habits during this pandemic. “What I’m seeing is a lot of people who’ve been renting from us now seem to be buying,” he said. That’s where the quality products comes in. About 14 years ago, Sporthaus joined a buyer’s group to get in on some of the top products available – skis, clothes, gloves, boots, you name it. “It allows us to buy the best models, the best lines and the best deals,” he said. That also includes snowboards, something McConnell stays away from. “Snowboarding was invented in the early 1980s,” he said. “The skate crowd (which took up with snowboards in the winter) was rebellious. Bart is my partner, and he said we’ve got to do it. I wanted nothing to do with it, so he learned all about it. We hire young people to sell them.” McConnell said the store turns over its inventory twice a year. “We switch seasons in April,” said McConnell, who admits “we’re not as busy

in the summer as we are in the winter. In the offseason, we scale back a bit to six full-timer employees, and four or five part-timers.” Though this year, the store’s “summer business was crazy,” he said. It might have been because people were getting stir crazy with the lockdown. Customers had a tough time buying a boat in early June. “In the marinas, you couldn’t find an open spot,” McConnell said. “We had a good summer and we didn’t advertise anything.” Right around Labor Day, the store switches over to winter sports inventory. “It’s super important to have snow by Christmas, and the week between Christmas and New Year’s can make you or break you,” McConnell said. “The areas

have a lot of snow right now. We’re supposed to have a La Niña this year.” And he’s confident skiing will be a booming business this year around the Northwest. “The industry says it’s flat. We don’t see that,” he said. “The mountains are full, the mountains are busy.” The Northwest did take a little financial beating in March. Jordan Elliot, president of the Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association, told KREM TV in Spokane recently that last season, resorts in Alaska, Oregon and Washington lost $87 million in revenue when the pandemic forced an earlier end to the season. Because of the pandemic, McConnell does see people staying close to their home mountains. “Bluewood will be one of the safest places this year,” he said. “A lot of people outside the area are not traveling in the pandemic. It’s a good year to ski local.” From McConnell’s point of view, based what he’s hearing from the many customers who come through his door and on what he’s seen at resorts, skiing remains a big business. “More people are getting into, or getting back into, skiing,” he said. “... We’ve seen nothing but growth.” And life has been good for the guys who run a local outdoor sports business that’s been around for 40 years. “We got into the business not to get rich but because we love sports,” McConnell said. “In fact, Thanksgiving is our last day off for a while. But that’s OK. We sell fun.” Sporthaus Northwest: 26 N. Columbia Center Blvd., Kennewick; 509-735-7555; sporthausnw.com; Facebook; Instagram.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

Cyberattack hobbles Port of Kennewick By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

A military-grade cyberattack seized the Port of Kennewick’s computer system on Nov. 16, cutting off email and other systems. Email was restored by the end of the month but port staff were still working to restore functionality to their computer systems in early December. The port refused to pay a $200,000 ransom to restore access to its servers, which were encrypted by sophisticated digital “military-grade” ransomware. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Washington State Office of Cy-

bersecurity investigated. A contractor worked to restore the port’s system to re-establish email and other services using digital files from offline backups. The port said personal information were not compromised. The port uses a professional IT firm to maintain and secure its servers. It said its systems were well maintained and that it runs regular scans to ensure it had the appropriate systems in place. The port contracts with a separate, independent consultant to advise the port on technology and IT systems.

RESTRICTIONS, From page A15 infections take place in restaurants,” he said. The governor alternately painted a rosy picture about the economic recovery he expects when vaccines take effect and the gloomy days ahead. “We face dark months before we celebrate the light,” he said. Inslee said he is optimistic the economy will recover swiftly once vaccines roll out. But there are more hard days ahead. The shutdown, he said, aims to prevent the specter of more patients “losing their lives on gurneys in halls.” The governor said alarming hospitalization rates contributed to the unpopular move to extend the shutdown, which

limits inside dining, restricts the size of gatherings and other measures. There were nearly 1,100 Covid patients in ICUs (Intensive Care Unit) across Washington on Dec. 7, representing 80% of available beds. Soaring infection rates could push that past 100% by the month’s end. That affects not only Covid patients, but anyone who needs intensive care services. “Even if you’re not a Covid-19 patient, this can affect your treatment,” he said. Inslee offered sharp words to businesses that operate illegally. Most business owners are complying, he said. It is not fair to them that others are not following the law. “You should have to answer to your fellow businesspeople that you are jeopardizing,” he said. To date, the state has supplied $120 million in rental assistance, $69 million in food assistance, $15 million in energy assistance, $164 million in child care assistance and $510 million to local governments. The state has distributed $12.6 billion in state and federal unemployment benefits as well.

uBUSINESS BRIEFS Washington exempts truck drivers from hour rules

Truck drivers hauling livestock, livestock feed, food, paper products, groceries and medical and sanitation supplies related to Covid-19, including vaccines, are exempt from Washington’s driver hour rules. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued the new rules to coincide with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules amended on Dec. 2.

Mastersingers offer virtual ‘Home for the Holidays’ dinner and show

Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, STCU and more than a dozen local residents are teaming up to make the holidays merry with 12 online “Home for the Holidays’ performances. The content is a combination of new recorded performances as well as archival video of previous Mastersingers holiday concerts. Area residents are providing takeout or delivery meals to be enjoyed during the performances. Participating restaurants are Boaida Brazilian Grill, Cedars at Pier One, Culture Shock Bistro, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Dovetail Joint Restaurant, Emerald of Siam Thai Restaurant and Lounge, Ethos Bakery & Café, Fat Olives Restaurant & Catering, Kabob House Mediterranean Grill, Picante Mexican Taqueria, Sake Express Sushi & Teriyaki and TC Cider House. The performances livestream on Vimeo and will be available through 10 p.m. Dec. 27. There is no cost to view the performances, but donations are welcome. Go to mcmastersingers.org for information or the Facebook event link at bit. ly/MastersingersHolidays.


TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020 uBUSINESS BRIEFS Booming Walmart shares cash with workers

Walmart is awarding $700 million in quarterly and special cash bonuses to its 1.5 million full- and part-time workers. Washington workers will receive about $8.5 million, split between quarterly bonuses in their Nov. 25 paychecks and special bonuses to be paid Dec. 24. The bonuses average $466 per employee. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart said the bonuses reflect a strong third quarter performance.

IRS heightens awareness of tax scams

The Internal Revenue service and the Security Summit partners are highlighting the seasonal scams that take advantage of the holiday shopping season, the approaching tax season and coronavirus concerns. “This is generally the hunting season for online thieves, but this year there’s a dangerous combination of factors at play that should make people more alert,” CHAPLAINCY, From page A13 As hospice workers adapted, so too did Chaplaincy’s other programs. Mostly, that means they went online. Grief support groups went virtual, with mixed results. Castillo said some participants, lacking transportation or the confidence to drive at night, welcomed being

warned Chuck Rettig, IRS commissioner. To protect yourself, use strong passwords, security software for computers and mobile phones, ensure antivirus software has a feature to stop malware, and there is a firewall to prevent intrusions, be alert to phishing scam designed to steal personal data and links or attachments on suspicious emails and shop at web addresses that begin with “https.” Notably, the IRS will not call, text or email about your Economic Impact Payment, your tax refund or with threats of jail or lawsuits over unpaid taxes. Go to IRS.gov/security for safety tips.

State enlists smartphones to track Covid-19 exposure WA Notify is a new smartphone tool to help users track exposure to Covid-19 through anonymized data. Washington residents who add or enable WA Notify on their smartphones will be alerted if they spend time near another user who later tests positive for coronavirus. Users also may use the technology to alert the system if they test positive. More than 1 million people opted in during the first four days of the program.

able to visit from their homes. But others did not. It planned a November memorial for families of patients who had died. The surge in Covid-19 infections and a new round of restrictions forced it to move online. Half those signed up dropped off. “I wish we knew all the reasons why,”

As of Dec. 4, the number of phones equipped with WA Notify represents nearly 20% of the state’s adults. The technology uses privacy-preserving technology developed by Google and Apple. According to the state Department of Health, it works without collecting or revealing location or personal data. WA Notify is free and can be enabled in iPhone settings or downloaded as an app from the Google Play Store for Android phones. Users can opt out. Go to WANotify.org to learn more. Virginia, New York and Colorado already are using the tool, as are Ireland, Canada and Germany.

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a transfer application, to transfer transcripts and their tuition is frozen from their first semester at WSU Tri-Cities.

At Home earnings soar, company eyes real estate

Columbia Basin College students can transfer seamlessly to Washington State University Tri-Cities under a new agreement signed in November. Under the seamless pathway plan, students can complete their first two years of college at CBC and then transfer to the four-year university to complete their undergraduate education. Students who transfer do not pay for

The parent to the Tri-Cities’ newest home furnishings retailer reported strong sales for the third quarter. At Home Group Inc. opened a store in the former Shopko building near Columbia Center in 2019. The Plano, Texas-based no-frills retailer said its third quarter net sales increased 47.5% and its comparable store sales increases 44.1% compared to the same period a year ago. It posted net income of $47.1 million compared to a $14.6 million loss a year ago. Earnings per share were 71 cents, compared to a 23-cent loss. At Home operates 219 stores in 40 states. In an earnings statement, Lee Bird, chairman and chief executive officer, said the brand has the potential to grow nearly three times larger. “Our real estate opportunities are only getting stronger,” Bird said.

he said. Its traditional fundraisers moved online as well, but donations have dropped. And the Chaplaincy chaplains have a new challenge, particularly in hospitals. Where they once focused on patients, chaplains now minister to stressed-out workers who were having a tough time try-

ing to stay safe at work and for their families. “Nobody knew if they were going to get sick,” he said. Prior to the pandemic, Chaplaincy Health employed 157 and had a $15.7 million budget, according to its most recent Form 990 filed with the IRS.

WSU Tri-Cities, CBC promote seamless transfers


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

uNEW POSITION • Jim Hall, director of communications at Kadlec for the past 26 years, has been selected as Kadlec’s new chief philanJim Hall thropy officer. Hall joined the Kadlec team in 1994, after working for 12 years in sports and news at a local TV station. Hall will continue to produce and host weekly radio (“Kadlec On Call”) and TV programs (“Community Health Journal,” “2 Minute Take”), working to integrate these communica-

tion tools more closely with the work of the Kadlec Foundation.

uELECTIONS • The Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership has elected four board directors. Directors serve three-year terms to begin January 2021. They are: Theresa Buckendorf, Apollo Mechanical Contractors; Shaun Ehlers, Free Culture Clothing; Jasmine Howell, Banner Bank; and Joel Watson, Just Joel’s.

uDONATIONS • To help curb food insecurity among college students and especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Lamb Weston donated $25,000 to the Washington

State University Tri-Cities Cougar Cupboard as part of Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1. The Cougar Cupboard is a food pantry program that allows students to access individual food items or pick up a package of food for themselves and their families. It features both fresh and prepackaged food and toiletry items. The donation actualizes on the third year of a three-year naming sponsorship totaling $75,000. The $25,000 gift will continue to support costs to run the Cougar Cupboard and provide food to WSU Tri-Cities students and their families throughout the next year. • The Kennewick Fire Department and the Kennewick Firefighters Local 1296 teamed up Dec. 5 to build 50 bicycles at this year’s Covid-safe “Bikes for Tikes” event. They will be distributed to

children of various ages throughout the Tri-City area by the Heads UP Tri-Cities Foster Kids Committee. Typically, hundreds of volunteers across the Tri-Cities region come together to assist with the annual bicycle build, sponsored by the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 598. This year, the annual event took a different approach. Organizations were asked to participate as micro-build groups to keep the event safer by limiting the size of each group.

uGRANTS • Two Kennewick School District teachers will use grants from the local PSI Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International to buy materials to enhance student learning. The grants are $250 each. Recipients are Katelyn Berry, a kindergarten teacher at Westgate Elementary School, and Jayme Brackett, pre-physical therapy instructor at Tri-Tech Skills Center. Berry plans to use her grant to buy Math Stackers materials for her class, and Brackett to buy virtual reality materials for her program. The group also selected Southridge High School graduate Bailey Berger as the recipient of its $1,000 scholarship. Berger, who graduated from Southridge High in June 2020, is attending Washington State University and plans to become an elementary school teacher. Delta Kappa Gamma Society International works to promote professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.

uAPPOINTMENTS • Gov. Jay Inslee announced new board and commission appointments for November 2020. These include: Chaune Fitzergald of Richland, Commission on African American Affairs; Physician Assistant Joel Quiroz of Richland, Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery; and Phil Tracy of Pasco, Developmental Disabilities Council.

uNEW HIRES • Mark Gomolski, a volunteer and former board member of Eastern Oregon Mission, has been hired as executive director of the organization. Along with volunteering in the food box program and as a board member, he has helped with fundraisers and other functions increasing the community’s awareness of Agape House and Martha’s House, the two outreach programs of the mission. Gomolski replaces Cathy Putnam, who served as interim director since October 2019 following the retirement of Dave Hughes. Gomolski’s first day was Dec. 1. Through November, Agape House handed out 9,286 food boxes and more than 11,000 weekend food backpacks for students, a program that was extended to year-round in light of Covid-19. In October 2020 the board hired Julia Galan as an on-site house manager at Martha’s House, a drug-free transitional housing program. In 2020 the program has assisted 18 families with housing, education, workforce training, mentorship and encouragement.


TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020 uAWARDS & HONORS

• LouAnne Neill of Neill Construction Services LLC, received the Associate of the Year Award from the Building Industry LouAnne Neill Association of Washington. Neill has served on the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities board of directors nearly every year since 1997 and has been a BIAW director since 2007. Over her time as a member, she has served on over nine committees between HBATC and BIAW and regularly volunteers at the Regional Home and Garden Show and the Fall Home Show. Neill currently serves as BIAW’s 2020 second vice president. • Energy Northwest electrician Levi Dunlap received the Good Samaritan Award from the Washington Public Utility Districts Association for his quick actions in response to clear the airway of a choking coworker. He was recognized for his role in a July 10, 2020, incident when he noticed a coworker, who had been eating a snack, in distress. Dunlap quickly realized the individual was choking and administered the Heimlich maneuver, clearing the coworker’s airway. The association presented its annual awards recognizing the outstanding dedicated service and commitment of individuals serving PUDs at the organization’s annual conference on Dec. 3. • Two Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers have been elected fellows of the American Association for Janet Jansson the Advancement of Science. PNNL’s Janet Jansson and Ron Thom were chosen by their AAAS peers for their efforts to advance science or its applications. Jansson was selected for advances in the field of microbial ecology. She is chief scientist for biology in PNNL’s Biological Sciences Division and a Laboratory fellow. She has studied complex microbial communities living in soil, sediments and the human gut for more than 30 years. Her research has led to a better understanding of the impact of a changing climate on microbial communities in prairie and arctic ecosystems, including how warming temperatures affect permafrost soil microbiomes and drought on grassland soils. Jansson is a leader of a focused effort funded by the U.S. Department of Energy on the microbiome of the soil, teasing out questions about how drought, temperature and other factors influence the environment. She has authored more than 200 publications and is the editor of two books on molecular microbial ecology and a textbook on soil microbiology. She previously

served as president of the International Society for Microbial Ecology and on numerous advisory panels, including the National Academy of Science Committee on Science Breakthroughs for Food and Agriculture by 2030. Thom was selected for nearly five decades of research on coastal and estuarine ecosystem research. After positions Ron Thom in California and with the Army Corps of Engineers and the University of Washington, Thom joined PNNL’s Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory in Sequim in 1990, working as a research scientist and managing MCRL’s Coastal Ecosystem technical group for more than 20 years. He retired from PNNL in 2013 and is currently an emeritus scientist at MCRL, as well as the outgoing president of the Washington Academy of Sciences. Over his 48-year career, Thom has led and participated in studies on the ecology of seagrasses, seaweed, salt marshes and tide flats; the effects of climate change on estuarine and coastal ecosystems; and the adaptive management of restored ecosystems. Jansson and Thom will be recognized during a virtual induction ceremony on Feb. 13, 2021. AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society with a mission to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.” A designation of fellow is the society’s highest honor. PNNL now has 33 active staff members who hold the rank of AAAS fellow. • EHS Today, a national occupational health and safety publication, has named Washington River Protection Solutions as one of America’s safest companies. The designation recognizes companies that exemplify excellence in safety leadership and promote a worldclass safety culture. WRPS received several other safety awards in 2020, including the DOE Voluntary Protection Program’s Star of Excellence for the sixth consecutive year. It also received several awards from the National Safety Council, including the Industry Leader & Occupational Excellence award, the Safety Leadership award and the Community Advancement award. In addition, WRPS was recognized by the Council for One Million Safe Work Hours. • Marv McKenzie, a private wealth advisor/financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services in Kennewick, recently Marv McKenzie obtained the certified private wealth advisor designation through the Investment Management Consultants Association. He has more than 35 years with Ameriprise.

• Edward Jones financial advisor Shelley Kennedy of Richland has been invited to attend Barron’s 2020 Top Women AdviShelley Kennedy sors Summit. This is the second time she has been invited to the invitation-only event. The three-day conference gathers the nation’s top women financial advisors and leading industry decision-makers. • The Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recognized eight outstanding individuals who are positively contributing to the Latino and greater Tri-City community during its Una Tarde de Éxitos awards event in October. They are: - Outstanding Business of the Year: Alisheva Law. - Latino Community Ally of the Year: Donna Kary. - Outstanding Health Care Professional of the Year: Gabriela Araico. - Outstanding Health Care Professional of the Year: Hilda Torres. - Outstanding Community Leader of the Year: Victor Ortega. - Outstanding Community Leader of the Year: Socorro Garcia. - Outstanding Public Servant of the Year: Ray Aparicio. - Outstanding Educator of the Year: Antonio Cruz. • The Port of Kennewick’s presented two Friend of the Port awards to recognize outstanding service to the port and the community during a Dec. 8 meeting. • Kennewick Police Department was selected as the 2020 Friend of the Port of Kennewick, representing an organization. The KPD leadership team, comprised of police Chief Ken Hohenberg, Cmdrs. Scott Child, Trevor White, Chris Guerrero and Randy Maynard and

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Kennewick police leadership team

Lts. Aaron Clem and Christian Walters, received a plaque on behalf of all KPD employees for their compassionate service, rapid response and friendly assistance whenever called, the time and effort their officers spend patrolling and safeguarding the port’s development projects, and for the diligent commitment exhibited by each officer in helping transition Kennewick’s historic waterfront into a destination gathering place. Kay Metz was named a 2020 “Friend of the Port” for his individual contributions. Metz is a personal steward of Clover Island. Sixty-five years ago, his Kay Metz family created the region’s first marina, and his Metz Mobile Marine is still doing business on the island. In selecting him, port staff said he never hesitates to share his knowledge of boating, maintenance and repair with anyone in need. The port said he keeps a watchful eye on the island and has loaned his pump equipment when boats were sinking. He is a tireless cheerleader for all the port’s endeavors and the go-to resource when the staff has marine-related questions. He has been involved with Tri-Cities Water Follies for 54 years and is a longtime member and a past commodore of the Clover Island Yacht Club. He also was instrumental in helping facilitate a new yacht club building.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020


REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION Tenant’s death leaves port in an awkward position

Page B3

Tribe to expand hotel at Northern Quest Resort & Casino

Page B9

December 2020 Volume 19 | Issue 12 | B1

Vancouver real estate firm plants $2.4M outpost in growing Tri-Cities By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

A Vancouver real estate management and development firm is expanding into the Tri-Cities, drawn by the area’s growth. Carmen Villarma, president and founder of The Management Group (TMG), broke ground on a two-story office at 30 S. Louisiana St. in west Kennewick this fall. It includes ground floor space for both TMG and AMS Northwest, its homeowner association management business, and second-floor office space for rent. The 21,775-square-foot building has a building permit value of $2.4 million and will open in May. The second-floor will be split between rentable office space and an executive suite space with private and communal office space. Villarma’s husband and partner, Dennis Pavlina, is the general contractor. The duo has developed several real estate projects in the Tri-Cities, but the property management footprint is light. Villarma said she is looking to build the business and will hire local property managers and office staff. Two current employees from each side of the business will move to the Tri-Cities to open the office. “The Tri-Cities has lots of qualified

Photo by Wendy Culverwell Carmen Villarma and her husband, Dennis Pavlina, are expanding their Vancouver-based real estate and homeowner association management businesses to the Tri-Cities. They broke ground on a two-story office at 30 S. Louisiana St. in Kennewick to house the new office this fall.

people there. There’s lots of real estate there,” she said. It’s a similar approach to the one they took when they opened a satellite office across the Columbia River from Vancouver in Portland. They previously built Seasons on Fourth Avenue, an apartment community, in western Kennewick, Park View Estates

and a duplex community near Hansen Park. They are eyeing spot in the neighborhood for a residential-and-office project but do not expect to close on the land deal until the end of the year. “We love the Tri-Cities,” Villarma said. “The Tri-Cities is just a growing little powerhouse.” The couple will self-manage the ex-

ecutive suites business, called Columbia Executive Suite, and will retain a local commercial broker to represent them on the remaining office space. Villarma, who bought the Louisiana Street property in 2017, considered buying an existing office building and toured candidates in the Tri-Cities. She said she decided to build new after moving her headquarters into offices that had to be remodeled. The extensive and costly tenant improvements were less than satisfactory. The Louisiana Street is close to West Clearwater Avenue and to properties she owns. “It seemed to be a perfect fit for us. I decided to build it so I could have whatever I wanted,” she said. TMG recently launched a foundation to carry out the company’s philanthropic efforts with a focus on children and veterans. Villarma is the second Vancouverbased investor attracted to the Tri-Cities by growth and the stabilizing effects of federal spending at Hanford. Inland Ocean LLC, led by Jane Schmid-Cook and her partner and former husband, Rod Cook, paid $7 million for Marineland Plaza at West Clearwater Avenue and North Edison Street.

Construction underway on new $7.7M science exploration center

Sewer inquiry prompts stark reminder: No live-aboards at Clover Island

By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

An inquiry about extending sewer lines to boathouses at the Clover Island Yacht Club has prompted a strong response from the Port of Kennewick. Boathouses are for boats, not people. Living on boats or in boathouses is not allowed by the port or the Army Corps of Engineers. The port leases the marina land, including submerged lands, from the Corps and in turn subleases it to the Clover Island Yacht Club. About 40 members have boathouses. Army Corps rules and the lease expressly prohibit people from living at the marina. The dustup began when two members approached the Kennewick city manager about extending sewer lines to their boathouses. Sewer connections

A $7.7 million science exploration center under construction in Richland aims to foster science-inspired students and STEM-confident educators. LIGO Hanford, one of two detectors making up the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, broke ground this fall on the LIGO Exploration Center, called LExC. Expected to host up to 10,000 students each year, in addition to other public visitors, it will feature 50 interactive exhibits, including a giant funnel to demonstrate the principles of gravity. LExC also will showcase LIGO’s gold-plated 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. Three key members of LIGO were uLIGO, Page B10

By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

would enable flushing toilets – a signal boathouse owners want to install the amenities needed to live in or near their boats. Larry Peterson, the port’s director of planning and development, said it regularly reminds boat owners about the live-aboard rules and it is not generally a problem. But the sewer request took it to a new level that raises questions about the port’s liability for any loss of life if it didn’t enforce the rule. The port responded with a letter to remind boat owners that they cannot live on their boats and said it will reissue it yearly instead of as the need arises. “This was not a fight that we were looking for, but there were indications that people were looking to enhance boathouses for long-term live-aboards, possibly,” Peterson said. Ryan Smith, incoming commodore for the yacht club, said the flap is the

result of a misunderstanding. The two members who approached the city were not acting on the club’s behalf. “We have never even thought of our boathouses being live-aboards,” he said. The club itself agrees the marina should not be a residential community. Members prefer the come-and-go aspect of the club, he said. Neither the board nor the members have voted to pursue sewer connections beyond the main dock, he added. Boat owners can pump out sewage tanks at the fuel dock and elsewhere on the river. Such facilities are widely available on the river to encourage boat owners to discharge waste into city sewer systems instead of the river. Nevertheless, the inquiry about sewers highlights a periodic challenge associated with one of the community’s most unusual real estate arrangements: uCLOVER ISLAND, Page B3


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

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Canal Village, a mixed-use development at 5373 and 5331 Canal Drive, near the intersection with Edison Street in Kennewick welcomed its first tenants in November. Buxbaum Family Chiropractic moved into the two-building complex in November. Tri-Cities Infusion & Wellness Clinic will move in in 2021. A third building will be delivered in 2021. Tammy Steel-Chavallo and Jose Chavallo are the owners and developers of the project as well as the designers. Both buildings feature black brick and stucco interiors. Building 1 is 3,600 square feet and is available

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Tenant’s death leaves port in an awkward position By Wendy Culverwell editor@tcjournal.biz

The Port of Kennewick is in an awkward position after the death of a tenant who held a lifetime right to occupy portowned property in east Kennewick. Audrey Bouton died Sept. 14 in San Tan Valley, Arizona, where she had moved to be cared for by a daughter. She was 90 and held the right to occupy a 4.5-acre site at 50 S. Verbena St. until her death. Her death frees the port to use the site, which is near the Kennewick Sewage Treatment Plant, in accordance with its industrial zoning. But there’s a snag: People still live in the modest structures that dot the site, which also includes a barn, corral and several horses. The port’s elected commissioners discussed the next steps at their Nov. 10 regular business meeting. Technically, anyone living on the property without a lease or paying rent is, as one commissioner characterized it, squatting. The port confirmed there are no tenants and that it does not receive rent from anyone on the property. But it wants to be kind. Amber Hanchette, the port’s real estate manager, notes that during a pandemic, evictions are off the table. “We won’t kick them out for the holidays,” she said. She said residents un-

uBUSINESS BRIEF Men’s Wearhouse exits bankruptcy, Pier 1 returns?

Tailored Brands Inc., parent to Men’s Wearhouse and other clothing lines for men, has exited bankruptcy as a private company. Tailored is one of many national brands with a Tri-City presence to file for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code this year. The company filed in August after announcing it would close 500 stores. The case proceeded in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. CLOVER ISLAND, From page B1 Marinas. Clover Island features a mix of docks operated by the port and by the yacht club. Boat owners lease slips, although the yacht club sold condominium interests in its slips to members to finance capital improvements. There is no sewer service at individual slips. Smith said some marinas have those connections, but it has never been contemplated at Clover Island. While no one is arguing against the occasional gathering and overnight stay, the marina lacks the safety amenities it would need to support permanent residents. Namely, the yacht club docks do not

derstand they need to clear out and some have planned to move – an ideal outcome that avoids formal eviction and relocation procedures. Tim Arntzen, the port’s chief executive officer, said Verbena is of little use and generates “maximum headaches.” But back in 2000, it made sense to buy industrial land near the Columbia River, where the port has extensive real estate holdings. Audrey Faragher-Davis-Bouton and Char Davis sold it to William and Joan Lewis in 1999 for $125,000. The Lewises owned a manufactured neighborhood next door. They wanted to expand Lewis’ Country River Estates into the Bouton land. The Kennewick City Council rejected the Lewises’ application for a rezone to residential use because of its proximity to the sewage treatment plant and opposition from the port. Their plan dashed, the Lewises approached the port with an offer to sell. It bought the sliver of land near the Columbia River for $141,000 and agreed to honor Audrey Bouton’s life estate right to live in her 1930s-built home, part of the original sale to the Lewis family. Hanchette said port workers have responded to complaints regarding the site for 20 years. Neighbors complained about overgrown trees and even snakes. It took down The reorganization eliminated $686 million of debt from its balance sheet, it said. Its Kennewick store is at 7500 W. Quinault Ave. in Columbia Square. In other bankruptcy news, Pier 1 Imports may have shuttered its brick-andmortar stores, including one in Kennewick, but it appears poised to return as an online retailer. Chain Store Age, which tracks the retail industry, reports Miami-based Retail Ecommerce Ventures submitted the winning bid of $6 million to buy the intellectual property of Pier 1’s parent, Stein Mart Inc., in a bankruptcy auction. REV will relaunch Pier 1 in 2021, it reported. have active fire suppression systems – sprinklers – although the port-operated ones do. And there is only one way off the docks. Marina fires are unusual, but when they happen, they can be devastating and deadly if they spread between boats. Clover Island experienced a marina fire in the 1980s that damaged some structures, Smith recalled. The roofs over the covered slips were redesigned to deter flames from spreading sideways to neighboring boats and structures. But in a fire, people could be trapped on a dock with no option except to either swim or boat away.

the trees and looked for loose reptiles. “We’ve gone out to look for the snakes. We haven’t found them,” she told the commission. It has even managed disputes between residents of the property. It thought it had solved the issue last year when it agreed to sell 50 S. Verbena and several neighboring parcels to Santiago Communities Inc. for a 200Courtesy Port of Kennewick unit manufactured The death of a tenant with a lifetime right to occupy home park. Like the Lewis a 4.5-acre property in east Kennewick is creating family, Santiago was an awkward situation for the owner, the Port of unsuccessful in se- Kennewick. curing a rezone. The “Generally speaking, residential and California developer abandoned plans industrial development don’t make for the to buy the property. The port confirmed best neighbors due to the impacts from the October 2019 deal is dead, citing the the treatment facility,” said Evelyn Lusigcity’s reluctance to see homes built next nan, the city’s spokeswoman. to the wastewater treatment plant as reaThe property at 50 S. Verbena is asson for the failed rezone request. sessed at $179,000 by the Benton County City staff felt a residential development Assessor’s Office. The port is seeking a was inappropriate given the city’s plan to expand the sewage plant with a bio-solids market appraisal as a prelude to offering treatment facility immediately next door. it for sale.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

Real Estate & Construction

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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

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The city of Pasco has completed construction of a $5.2 million, 10,612-square-foot fire station at 7520 Sandifur Parkway to replace its aging Fire Station 83 at 3203 Road 68. The new Station 83 is a single-story building with four drive-thru vehicle bays, living and sleeping quarters for crews and support space. The station was moved to a more central location to improve response times and boost safety for crews. It serves a territory that includes a large portion of the future Broadmoor development area to the west of Road 100. It is south of the Pasco water tanks and north of Walmart on North Road 68. Chervenell Construction of Kennewick was the general contractor. Strategic Construction Management Inc. of Pasco served as the owner’s representative for the project. TCA Architecture Planning of Seattle was the architect.

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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

Real Estate & Construction

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Tribe to expand hotel at Northern Quest Resort & Casino By Mike McLean

Spokane Journal of Business

The Kalispel Tribe plans to expand its Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights with a new hotel building, adding 190 more rooms. The tribe expects to break ground on the new project in March and complete it in early 2023. The resort and casino is about 140 miles north of the Tri-Cities, just west of Spokane. “While 2020 has been a difficult year for the hospitality industry, we continue to weather the storm and look toward the future,” said Northern Quest General Manager Nick Pierre in a press release announcing the project. “For the past several years, we’ve been running at consistently high occupancy in our hotel. And while meetings and events business has taken a big hit in the past eight months, we are confident things will bounce back in the coming months and years, returning us to the kind of demand we were seeing in 2019 and early 2020.” The hotel expansion will be just west of the current hotel and will bring the overall capacity to more than 440 guest rooms. The project will include five connected buildings inspired by the concept of a Native American fish weir.

uBUSINESS BRIEFS Tariff cut is good news for homebuilders

The U.S. Department of Commerce halved import duties on Canadian softwood in early December, welcome news for the homebuilding industry. The government cut tariffs to about 9% from more than 20%, citing the impact of fluctuating lumber prices on affordable housing. The move was based on a review of countervailing subsidies levied on Canadian softwood manufacturers determined to have received subsidies between April 28, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2018. The decision was published Dec. 1 in the Federal Register. The chairman of the National Association of Home Builders applauded the move but called for more steps to curb lumber prices. Chuck Fowke called it a “positive development” but noted price volatility has pushed up the cost of new home construction, affecting affordability. NAHB noted the Random Lengths Framing Composite Price has dropped since mid-September but is still 60% higher than it was in April.

Grant expands rental options for low-income Washingtonians

A $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will fund a new rental housing program serving extremely low-income people with disabilities in Washington. The state Department of Commerce

The new guest rooms are expected to be similar in style to the current Northern Quest hotel rooms, and a skywalk will connect the northwest side of the current hotel to the new addition. The expansion project is expected to result in more than 150 permanent new jobs at Northern Quest. The design-build team for the project will consist of Lydig Construction Inc. of Spokane Valley; Integrus Architecture PS of Spokane; and Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects Inc. of Seattle. Engineering partners on the team include MW Consulting Engineers PS of Spokane; and the Spokane offices of Coffman Engineers Inc. and Parametrix Inc. The Society, a Portland, Oregon-based hospitality interior design company, also is involved. The Kalispel Tribe opened Northern Quest Casino in 2000 and broke ground on the original Northern Quest hotel in 2008. While the tribe’s announcement about the project didn’t disclose the value of planned expansion, the cost of the original 250-room hotel and casino expansion was estimated to exceed $200 million. At the time, Kent Caputo, then-chief operating officer for the Kalispel Tribal is one of seven to receive the HUD grants. The state said the grant will double the capacity of its program and support about 260 rental units statewide for people in need ages 18-64.

Fred Meyer parent cracks top e-tailer list

Fred Meyer’s Cincinatti-based parent, Kroger Corp., has cracked the list of the top e-tailers by sales for the first time. Kroger ranked ninth with more than $11 billion in systemwide sales. The top e-commerce companies as ranked by eMarketer and republished by Chain Store Age were Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Apple, The Home Depot, Best Buy, Target, Wayfair and Costco.

$1.1M Dollar General store coming to Benton City

Simon CRE Insight has filed a permit to build a $1.1 million Dollar General store at 210 Second St. in Benton City. The 9,100-square-foot store is on 1.42 acres. It is scheduled to open in summer 2021 and employ six to 10 people. Dollar General opened its first store in the state in Cathlamet this spring. The Goodlettsville, Tennessee, company (NYSE: DG) operates 16,720 retail stores in 46 states. The company reported net sales increased 17.3% to $8.2 billion in the third quarter 2020, compared to $7 billion in the third quarter 2019. It also reported its operating profit increased 57.3% to $773.1 million Scottsdale, Arizona-based Simone CRE Insight is a commercial real estate development company. The contractor for the Benton City

Courtesy Northern Quest Resort & Casino Northern Quest Resort & Casino outside Spokane plans an expansion west of the current hotel that will add 190 more guest rooms. It will be complete in 2023.

Economic Development Authority, told the Spokane Journal of Business the total costs of expanding the casino ultimately could top $500 million. Recent projects there include a nearly $20 million, 55,000-square foot expansion on the south side of the casino, and a $7 million recreational vehicle park south of the casino.

The tribe’s master plan includes the potential addition of a more than 30,000-square-foot conference center. Pierre said of the upcoming expansion, “Back in March, the Covid-19 global pandemic forced us to delay our announcement of this project, but as we close out 2020, we are excited to move forward.”

project is Collaborative Construction Solutions.

Concept Men’s is a new retailer located across from the food court between Concept Women’s and GameStop. The store specializes in the latest on-trend clothing as well as accessories, footwear and swag. Mall hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Go to simon.com/mall/columbia-center for information about in-person shopping as well as curbside pickup, in-store pickup and appointments.

Columbia Center adds retailers for the holidays

Hickory Farms, See’s Candies Gift Center and Concept Men’s have opened at Kennewick’s Columbia Center mall in time for the holidays. Food sellers Hickory Farms and See’s are both pop-up stores for the season.


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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

uBUSINESS BRIEFS STCU cleared to buy Umpqua branches

STCU has expanded to 29 branches after regulators signed off on its plan to convert four Eastern Washington Umpqua Bank branches into STCU. The former Umpqua branches at Medical Lake, Ritzville, Coulee City and Othello were converted to the STCU brand in early December. Employees were offered positions. Also, ATMs were swapped with those operated by STCU. The Spokane-based credit union will convert the 5,000 Umpqua customers to the STCU family following approval by the National Credit Union Association, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Washington State Department of Financial Institutions. STCU serves 210,000 members and operates branches in the Tri-Cities, Spokane area, Columbia Basin, and north Idaho.

Walla Walla leads nation for construction job gains

Walla Walla led the nation for posting the largest increase in construction gains in the past year, according to a report from Associated General Contractors. Walla Walla gained 300 jobs for a nation-leading 25% gain, followed by Lewiston, Idaho, 300 jobs or 18%; Oshkosh-Neena, Wisconsin, 900 jobs

Real Estate & Construction

or 16%; Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, 500 jobs or 15%; and Springfield, Missouri, 1,400 jobs or 15%. Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, added the most construction jobs overall at 7,100 or 5%, followed by SeattleBellevue-Everett, 4,700 jobs or 4%; Kansas City, Missouri, 3,700 jobs or 12%; and Boise, 3,500 jobs or 13%. Only 30% of U.S. markets gained construction jobs, AGC said. The biggest job losers were Houston, Texas, New York City, Montgomery-Bucks-Chester counties, Pennsylvania, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

AGC sues to block PPP rule change

The Associated General Contractors of America filed a suit on Dec. 8 seeking to block changes to the questionnaire used to reassess if companies were eligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans under the CARES Act. The Small Business Administration and the Office of Management and Budget are seeking to make the change, which the AGC said has ramifications for companies seeking PPP loans or forgiveness. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asserts the process that produced the form and the form itself violate the Paperwork Reduction Act and the Administrative Procedures Act.

Courtesy LIGO Hanford Construction is underway on a $7.7 million LIGO Exploration Center in Richland. It’s expected to open in 2022. This Oct. 23 photo shows trenches for utilities and other necessities for the project.

LIGO, From page B1 awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to the observatory’s historic 2015 detection of gravitational waves, or ripples in space and time; each winner receives additional medals to share with institutions to display. “We are thrilled to launch the construction of the LIGO Exploration Center,” said LIGO Hanford Observatory Head Michael Landry in a press release. “This brings us one giant step closer to

the grand opening of the center, which will serve Eastern Washington and beyond with innovative and experiential STEM content.” The coronavirus pandemic forced the LIGO team to put together a virtual groundbreaking video to commemorate the event: bit.ly/LIGOHanford. The new center, designed by Pascobased Terence L. Thornhill architects and to be built by DGR Grant Construction of Richland, is scheduled to open in January 2022. “It is sort of the epitome of the TriCities – science, technology, engineering and math – but in a way that brings students in, gets them learning hands on, gets them engaged,” said Chris Reykdal, Washington state superintendent of public instruction, in the LIGO video. His office awarded the grant to pay for the project. LExC will support science, technology, engineering and math education in the region by providing opportunities for teachers, students, and families, said Amber Strunk, education and public outreach lead at LIGO Hanford Observatory. “Previously, we had been hosting 3,000 to 4,000 K-12 students a year, in addition to bringing our scientists into classroom, but with the growing interest in LIGO and its ongoing discoveries, we wanted to reach and inspire even more students of all ages.” “With this new STEM exploration center, LIGO will help this country produce inspired students and STEMcapable teachers,” said Denise Caldwell, division director for physics at the National Science Foundation, in the video. Landry and the staff at LIGO Hanford Observatory are employed by Caltech, which manages the observatories together with MIT.

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PUBLIC RECORD uBANKRUPTCIES Bankruptcies are filed under the following chapter headings: Chapter 7 — Straight Bankruptcy: debtor gives up non-exempt property and debt is discharged. Chapter 11 — Allows companies and individuals to restructure debts to repay them. Chapter 12 — Allows family farmers or fishermen to restructure finances to avoid liquidation for foreclosure. Chapter 13 — Plan is devised by the individual to pay a percentage of debt based on ability to pay. All disposable income must be used to pay debts. Information provided by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Spokane.

CHAPTER 11 Kamiak Vineyards Inc., 531 Levey Road, Pasco. Gordon Brothers Cellars Inc., 531 Levey Road, Pasco. CHAPTER 13 Ashley M. Cobian, 1110 S. Newport St., Apt. A, Kennewick. Lori L. Torres, 119 E. Sixth Ave., Kennewick. Llesenia Farias, 1415 Sheridan Ave., Apt. 1, Prosser CHAPTER 7 David Ryan Roberts, 6615 Louisville Drive, Pasco.

Wesley S. & Sheryl E. Bivins, 8003 Chehalis Drive, Pasco. Saul Martinez Quevedo, 915 S. Fruitland, Kennewick. 111 Properties LLC, 122 Center Blvd., Richland. Alan George Martin Jr. & Kathtrina Margaret Komlofske, 5414 Jackson Lane, Pasco. Roman & Ana Maria Andrade, 324 N. Arthur St., Kennewick. Fimiana Mosesova, 608 S. Yolo, Kennewick. Sean Landreth, 321 N. Hawaii St., Kennewick. Estefani M. Ortiz Diaz, 1719 S. Dayton Place, Kennewick. Chelsea & Sarah Orr, 1408 Arbor St., Richland. David Thomas & Uverlia Kay Foster, 8709 W. Arrowhead Ave., Kennewick. Joe Glenn Conway, 2550 Duportail St., #P296, Richland. Daniel & Heather Pelfrey, 4807 Cordova Ct., Pasco. Juan Luis Martinez Espinoza, 1307 N. Beech Ave., Pasco. Elise Kira-Joyce Barber, 801 N. Tweedt St., Apt. A107, Kennewick. Sandra Cain, 850 Aaron Drive, Apt. 66, Richland.

Wilmer & Kortney Gutierrez, P.O. Box 859, Connell. Ramon Avalos-Arias, 2608 W. Marie St., Pasco. Tami Marie McDonald, 1011 Van Geisen, Richland. Ruben Espinoza Jr., 4102 S. Lyle St., Kennewick. Angel Uriel Bueno Mendez, 9320 Shire Drive, Pasco. Raymundo Trinidad, 1632 W. Irving St., Pasco.

uTOP PROPERTIES BENTON COUNTY 28126 N. Hansen PR NW, Prosser, 2,735-square-foot single-family home on 11 acres. Price: $880,000. Buyer: Larry A. & Kimberly K. Morris. Seller: Robert O. Smasne. 1901 N. Steptoe, Kennewick, 17,263-square-foot commercial building. Price: $4.4 million. Buyer: Niki Properties II LP. Seller: Thrifty Payless Inc. 1941 Gala Way, Richland, 3,133-square-foot single-family home. Price: $969,900. Buyer: James Layton & Laura Doyle. Seller: Rafael & Carmen Martinez Trustees. 421 N. Quay St., Kennewick,

26,365- and 1,200-square-foot commercial buildings on 3.5 acres. Price: $2.7 million. Buyer: United Western Technologies Corp. Seller: Ellen L. Ferguson. 1495 Badger Mountain Loop, Richland, 7,337-square-foot singlefamily home. Price: $1.3 million. Buyer: Kashish & Loona Sonika Mehra. Seller: Julie Luke. 4103 N. Levi St., Kennewick, 3,304-square-foot single-family home. Price: $821,000. Buyer: Thomas & Coral Tieu. Seller: Leonard R. & Paula A. Wu. 2713 Glen Road, Richland, 2,451-square-foot single-family home and pole building on five acres. Price: $695,000. Buyer: Jerry & Patricia Ingham. Seller: Jeff A. & Deborah L. Dihel. 2303 W. 49th Ave., Kennewick, 4,232-square-foot single-family home. Price: $745,000. Buyer: Nesreen Al Muzayen. Seller: Hosain Beckmohamadi. FRANKLIN COUNTY 1840 & 1834 W. Court St., Pasco, 3,456- and 3,080-square-foot

uPUBLIC RECORD, Page B12


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and commercial buildings. Price: $1.6 million. Buyer: RR Terminal Inc. Seller: Dahava Financial Ltd. Partnership. 2817 Road 76, Pasco, 1,288-square-foot single-family home on 3 acres. Price: $512,500. Buyer: Jeffrey C. & Sarah L. Parray. Seller: Jennifer Elaine Winston. 9724 W. Court St., Pasco, 3,400-square-foot single-family home. Price: $513,400. Buyer: Kim & Eden Mahaffey (et. al.). Seller: Joseph L. & Courtney D. Gualco. 12519 Rock Creek Drive, Pasco, undeveloped land with permits filed for 2,595-square-foot single-family home valued at $344,400 and shop valued at $35,100. Price: $637,100. Buyer: Ryan & Naomi Oberg. Seller:

Hammerstrom Construction Inc.

uBUILDING PERMITS BENTON CITY Kiona-Benton City School District, 1205 Horne Drive, $22,049 for commercial construction. Contractor: Campbell & Company. Simon CRE Insight, 210 Second St., $1.1 million for new commercial. Contractor: Collaborative Construction Solutions. BENTON COUNTY USCOC of Richland, 73415 N. Crosby Road, $15,000 for antenna/ tower. Contractor: Key Tower LLC.

American Tower, 67417 S. Finley Road, $20,000 for antenna/ tower. Contractor: Steelhead Communications. California Institute of Technology, 127116 N. Hanford Route 10, $2 million. Contractor: DGR Grant Construction. KENNEWICK Sunstar Properties, 8232 W. Grandridge Blvd., $1.6 million for commercial alteration for Seattle Children’s Hospital Tri-Cities Clinic. Contractor: Aldrich & Associates Inc. Juan R. Ramirez, 504 N. Fruitland St., $25,000 for commercial remodel at apartments. Contractor: Tri-Cities Quality Homes.

Quinault Real Estate LLC, 8011 W. Quinault Ave., $175,000 for tenant improvements for K2 Vision Eye Care. Contractor: MH Construction Inc. Yakima Valley Farm Workers, 6351 W. Rio Grand Ave., $56,000 for storage building and non-enclosed bus shelter at Miramar Health Center. Contractor: Neenan Company LP. KSU Investments, 6001 W. Deschutes Ave., $7,500 for sign. Contractor: Cascade Sign & Fabrication. Kishore S H M-Madhur Varada, 220 W. Kennewick Ave., $15,000 for commercial remodel at Impact Compassion Center. Contractor: Thornworks LLC. DJS Clearwater Bay LLC, 5225 W. Clearwater Ave., $35,000 for fire damage repairs in apartment. Contractor: Zion Restoration Inc. TTB Investments LLC, 520 W. Columbia Drive, $60,000 for sign. Contractor: Mustang Sign Group. Tim Bush Trustees, 5231 W. Okanogan Place, $60,000 for sign. Contractor: Mustang Sign Group. Blue Cougar Properties Inc., 8350 W. Grandridge Blvd., $9,800 for sign. Contractor: Mustang Sign Group. RX Properties LLC, 8021 W. Grandridge Blvd., $54,000 for tenant improvements. Contractor: Cliff Thorn Construction. Raymond H. & Michelle Sjerven, 813 S. Auburn St., $16,000 for commercial windows, siding, reroof. Contractor: Investment Construction. Georgetown Enterprises LLC, 2815 W. Second Ave., $22,000 for sign. Contractor: Mustang Sign Group. Hemmat Family LLC Real Property Mgmt LLC, 500 N. Morain St., commercial tenant improvement. Contractor: Siefken & Sons Construction. On the Boulevard, 9202 W. Gage Blvd. #K, $19,000 for siding replacement. Contractor: Owner. Steve J. Oord, 3101 W. John Day Ave., $55,000 for commercial reroof. Contractor: Perfect Circle Construction. Community First Bank, 8131 W. Grandridge Blvd., $14,400 for replacing air conditioning system and indoor coil. Contractor: Dayco Heating & Air. Walmart Stores Inc., 2720 S. Quillan St., $200,000 for commercial restroom remodel. Contractor: Engineered Structures Inc. Hendrickson Fir Grove LLC, 1305 W. Fourth Ave., $13,600 for 20-foot extension on existing 48-foot AT&T cell tower monopole. Contractor: Lexicom LLC. Columbia Everett LLC, 531 W. Columbia Drive, $8,000 for sign. Contractor: Mustang Sign Group. Highlands Center LLC, 101 N. Ely St., $11,200 for signs. Contractor: Signcraft LLC. Thrifty Payless Inc., 1901 N. Steptoe St., $10,900 for signs. Contractor: Signcraft LLC. Jacobs RR LLC, 2062 N. Steptoe

uPUBLIC RECORD, Page B13


TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020 St., $100,000 for AT&T wireless communications facility. Contractor: Mastec Network Solutions. Steele-Chavallo Investments LLC, 5373 W. Canal Drive, $66,000 for tenant improvements, $27,000 for heat pump/HVAC, $6,000 for plumbing. Contractors: New Environmental Corporation, Bruce Mechanical LLC, Evergreen Plumbing LLC. PASCO Okran & Hoju Moon, 2221 E. Lewis St., $6,000 for three signs. Contractor: To be determined. MPT of Pasco RCCH, 520 N. Fourth Ave., $60,000 for a vacuum system replacement. Contractor: Apollo Mechanical Contractor. Columbia Basin College, 2600 N. 20th Ave., $25,000 for modifying antennas and equipment. Contractor: Mastec Network Solutions. St. Patrick Catholic Parish, 1320 W. Henry St., $20,000 for installing antennas and equipment. Contractor: To be determined. B&J Management, 3517 Road 84, $300,000 for expanding Pathfinder Mobile Home Park. Contractor: To be determined. Garam LLC, 6627 Burden Blvd., $84,000 for tenant improvements. Contractor: W McKay Construction. Yesmar Properties, 8425 Chapel Hill Blvd., $98,000 for tenant improvements. Contractor: W McKay Construction. AJC Realty LLC, 5817 Burlington Loop, $250,000 for commercial addition. Contractor: Callies Welding and Fabrication. Housing Authority of the City of Pasco and Franklin County, 820 N. First Ave., $25,000 for modifications to existing T-Mobile equipment and antenna. Contractor: To be determined. Kim & Karla Palmer, 1403 W. Lewis St., $21,000 for signs. Contractor: Baldwin Sign Company. Walmart Real Estate, 4820 Road 68, $25,500 for commercial remodel. Contractor: Engineered Structures Inc. Whitten Family Investments, 2212 N. Commercial Ave., $19,000 for commercial addition. Contractor: Mr. Racks. TTB Investments Inc., 3810 W. Court St., $52,000 for sign. Contractor: Mustang Sign Group. BMB Investments LLC, 9613 Sandifur Parkway, $38,800 for foundation and grading work. Contractor: Elite Construction & Development. City of Pasco, 4920 Court St., $32,000 for sign. Contractor: Mustang Sign Group. MPT of Pasco RRCH, 520 N. Fourth Ave., $15,600 for heat pump/HVAC at Lourdes Health. Contractor: Dayco Heating & Air. Sandy Heights RV Park, 8801 St. Thomas Drive, $1 million for new commercial. Contractor: TTAP Construction Services.

Department of Natural Resources, 7200 Burden Blvd., $52,000 for signs. Contractor: Mustang Sign Group.

Contractor: Joy Inc. SPK LLC, 612 The Parkway, $30,000 for tenant improvements. Contractor: Legacy Barber Shop LLC.

PROSSER

uBUSINESS LICENSES

Zirkle Fruit Co., 101 Benitz Road, $115,000 for commercial reroof. Contractor: Mountain States Construction. Port of Benton, 236 Port Ave., $20,000 for commercial remodel. Contractor: Ken Bierlink Construction. Prosser Public Hospital District, 723 Memorial Ave., $7,400 for commercial reroof. Contractor: Arrow Roofing & Construction. MS Prosser Group, 1230 Meade Ave., $5,400 for commercial remodel. Contractor: Owner.

Editor’s note: Pasco and Richland’s business licenses were not available at press deadline.

RICHLAND KS Kingsgate LLC, 2695 Battelle Blvd., Bldg. A, $275,000 for tenant improvements. Contractor: KS Kingsgate LLC. Richard & Amy Nall, 143 Reata Road, Bldg. B, $591,000 for commercial pole building. Contractor: Quality Structures. William J. Mascott, 2462 Robertson Drive, $1 million for new commercial. Contractor: CRF Metal Works LLC. Meadow Springs Country Club, 700 Country Club Road E., $15,000 for tenant improvements. Contractor: Capstone Solutions Inc. HDP Properties LLC, 112 Columbia Point Drive, #105, $50,000 for tenant improvements. Contractor: Hummel Construction & Development. Walmart, 2801 Duportail St., $200,000 for commercial remodel. Contractor: Engineered Structures. Columbia Community Church, 150 Gage Blvd., $85,000 for commercial remodel. Contractor: CL EnterprisesGC Inc. Monson Development, 4294 Highview St., $20,200 for grading. Contractor: Big D’s Construction of Tri-Cities. Albertsons #252, 690 Gage Blvd., $30,000 for tenant improvements. Contractor: Woodman Construction. La Verde-Richland, 1310 & 1302 Buena Court, $18,400 for commercial reroof. Contractor: Gabriel & Sons. La Verde-Richland, 1201, 1210 & 1218 Del Mar Court, $27,600 for commercial reroof. Contractor: Gabriel & Sons. La Verde-Richland, 1200 Fontana Court, $9,200 for commercial reroof. Contractor: Gabriel & Sons. Jai Gurudev LLC, 1440 Jadwin Ave., $100,000 for tenant improvements. Contractor: Jai Gurudev LLC. Pahlisch Homes Inc., 2368 Skyview Loop, $6,000 for grading. Contractor: Mahaffey Enterprises. JCLTG LLC, 1374 Jadwin Ave., $18,000 for tenant improvements. Contractor: ALC Home Improvements. Zenitram Properties, 801 Aaron Drive, $24,000 for antenna/tower.

KENNEWICK Atlas Technical Consultants LLC, 13215 Bee Cave Parkway, Austin, Texas. Advocare International, 2800 Telecom Parkway, Richardson, Texas. Compunet Inc., 505 S. Florence St., Grangeville, Idaho. Melanie Wells Real Estate Services LLC, 92505 E. 83 PR SE. Sageland Enterprises Inc., 7513 W. Kennewick Ave., Suite B. J & D Construction, 1813 W. Octave St., Pasco. The Glass Door LLC, 2220 Goodman Road, Union Gap. DSL Northwest Inc., 3500 W. Valley Highway N. Auburn. Signcraft LLC, 1120 Tieton Drive, Yakima. Results Realty Group LLC, 8350 W. Grandridge Blvd. Wadman Corporation, 718 91st Ave., Lake Stevens. LDR Mission Enhancement LLC, 5417 W. 24th Ave. Welding Unlimited and Fabrication

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LLC, 7401 W. Grandridge Blvd., Suite 201. Tri-Cities Wireless, 419 W. Entiat Ave. Emmanuel Construction, 429 N. Sycamore, Pasco. A & F Drywall LLC, 632 N. Arbutus Ave., Pasco. Blackline Inc., 9605 Old Pacific Highway, Woodland. Jc De La Cruz Trucking LLC, 2906 W. 7th Ave. Rebelsoul Queendom, 7133 W. 6th Place. Celski & Associates Inc., 6725 W. Clearwater Ave. Klassic Remodel & Construction, 312 Benham St., Richland. Atlas Therapeutic Massage, 203 N. Dennis St. R Quality Construction LLC, 2917 W. 19th Ave. Aispuro’s Barbershop, 100 Vista Way. Desert Wind Development, LLC, 92505 E. 83 PR SE. World Builder LLC, 4 E. Columbia Drive. Golden Skull Tattoo, 13 S. Cascade St. Godinez Logistics LLC, 7704 W. Clearwater Ave. J&V Builders LLC, 128 Thunder Bird SW Way, Desert Aire. The Neenan Company LLLP, 3325 S. Timberline Road, Fort Collins, Colorado. PNW Steel and Panel Construction

uPUBLIC RECORD, Page B14

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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

LLC, 3725 Hamlin Road, Malaga. Kinder Kakery, 6300 W. 16th Ave. Ridgeline Comfort Home LLC, 5955 W. 37th Place. Superior Tree Service LLC, 2121 N. Commercial Ave., Pasco. Jgencabinets, 6321 W. Brinkley Road. Qbsetup, 3922 S. Cedar St. Sad Girl Self Care, 915 S. Auburn St. Servpro, 7500 W. Yellowstone Ave. The Zen Den Massage and Body Sculpt, 10 N. Cascade St. Builtwell Homes LLC, 2312 S. Ely St. Tacos El Agavito, 5718 W. Clearwater Ave. Serenity Haven, 2621 W. Entiat Ave. Serenity Manor, 2620 W. Deschutes Ave. Amethyst, 5219 W. Clearwater Ave. Vision Painting, 6418 Glacier Peak Drive, Pasco. Jeff’s Color Chart, 412 S. Edison Place. Casa Klicker Massage Therapy, 6734 W. 31st Ave. Redneck Cycles, 1710 W. Eighth Place. D.S.A Painting LLC, 7801 Snoqualmie Drive, Pasco. JLS Consulting and Contracting LLC, 8180 W. Fourth Ave. Thedreamteam, 3030 W. Fourth Ave. A.P. Financial LLC, 8927 W. Tucannon Ave. Deelyn Sandberg, Advocate, LLC, 5511 W. 18th Ave.

Darling Photography LLC, 272 S. Osborne St. Collision Damage Assessors, 309 S. Dawes St. J & J Hudson LLC, 5708 W. Sixth Ave. Green Valley Painting LLC, 5204 S. Auburn Place. Lochridge, Heidi Lynn, 3902 W. Clearwater Ave. Bedlington Supplies, 320 N. Johnson St. Connect Tri-Cities Co-operative Center, 5215 W. Clearwater Ave. Incarceration to Inspiration, 1320 W. 14th Ave. MB Photography, 630 S. Young St. N.S. Pooler Consulting & Development, 2715 W. Seventh Ave. Simplicity Kennewick LLC, 1321 N. Columbia Center Blvd. Reli LLC, 1800 S. Jean St. Lee Stringfellow, 7303 W. Canal Drive. Lifted Lotus Yoga Collective LLC, 5608 W. Clearwater Ave. Bookkeeping by Meghan, 2105 N. Steptoe St. The Modern Minimalist, 815 S. Anderson St. Meyer Aluminium Blanks Inc., 725 N. Center Parkway. Bales Custom Homes LLC, 3903 W. 42nd Ave. Beauty by Seniaa, 101 N. Union St. A Cut Above Auto Detailing & Supplies, 6001 W. Deschutes Ave. Needle Kings Tattoo, 3902 W. Clearwater Ave. Thirsty Fit, 8891 W. 12th Ave.

Lucid Construction Solutions LLC, 4408 S. Anderson Place. Deuces Dirt Hogz LLC, 100 N. Irving Place. Augustedge Insurance LLC, 521 S. Chelan Ave. Tri-City Herald, 4253 W. 24th Ave. Cheyenne Rose Art, 2500 W. Kennewick Ave. Proven Equity, 4204 W. 32nd Ave. Starbucks Coffee #61433, 1321 N. Columbia Center Blvd. Move Breathe Be LLC, 6812 W. 20th Ave. A Place Flooring, 6420 W. Umatilla Ave. Nany’s Day Care, 10503 S. 2034 PR SE. Jenny’s Thrift Store, 108 Vista Way. WP Visual Builder, 15 E. 10th Ave. Paver Tattoo, 2500 W. Kennewick Ave. Pac Wellness Clinic Inc., 5102 W. Okanogan Place. Hair By. Madalyn, 10121 W. Clearwater Ave. Culture Shock Bistro LLC, 421 E. Columbia Drive. Oasis Lawn and Construction Inc., 6725 W. Clearwater Ave. Soul Fuel Organic Coffee, 7207 W. Sixth Place. Ramos Boutique LLC, 314. S Quincy St. BBQ Pit Boyz LLC, 1114 W. 10th Ave. Healing Massage Therapy, 1137 W. 30th Ave. Mattress Today Kennewick Inc., 4207 W. Clearwater Ave.

LM Enterprizes LLC, 7403 W. Arrowhead Ave. Community First Bank, 8131 W. Grandridge Blvd. Concept Mens, 1321 N. Columbia Center Blvd. Pnw Signs & Designs LLC, 4810 W. 10th Ave. Jimenez Revive Painting LLC, 1023 S. Fifth Ave. Pasco. Hailey Robertson, 830 N. Columbia Center Blvd. White Bluffs Boutique LLC, 6750 W. 12th Place. Majestic Barber Crew, 5009 W. Clearwater. Top Seal Asphalt & Seal Coating, 707 W. Columbia Drive. Crazy Shine Auto Detail, 1401 W. Kennewick Ave. LLF, 7803 W. Deschutes Ave. NRT, 312 E. First Ave. Massage Tri-Cities, 4206 W. 24th Ave. Desert Sunrise LLC, 5821 Washougal Lane, Pasco. Hovde, Faith Leanne, 2417 W. Kennewick Ave. Sana Behavioral Hospital - TriCities, 7319 W. Hood Place. $2 Window Cleaning, 89 N. Waverly Place. Kolln, Corey Elizabeth, 5219 W. Clearwater Ave. Okada America Inc., 624 N. Georgia St. Custom T Shirts 2020 LLC, 1321 N. Columbia Center Blvd. Bloom Hair & Beauty, 4 N. Cascade St. uPUBLIC RECORD, Page B15


TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020 Life In a Pack, 5861 W. Clearwater Ave. Capstone Insurance and Financial Services Inc., 3617 Plaza Way. Trail Mixx, 8180 W. Fourth Ave. Proterra Pest Control of Tri-Cities LLC, 6201 W. Clearwater Ave. Casa Rosita LLC, 5215 Nashville Drive, Pasco. Dentive LLC, 419 N Yelm St. Columbia Safety Medical LLC, 418 N. Kellogg St. Hospitality Associates Inc., 3703 Plaza Way. Ace Construction Group LLC, 3702 Grant Loop, West Richland. Columbia Safety Medical, 418 N. Kellogg St. Harvest Plus LLC, 51 N. Edison St. Farm 419, 135 Vista Way. Hair by Camie Grace, 130 Vista Way. WEST RICHLAND Northwest Premier Auto Sales, 2083 W. Van Giesen St. J Lugo’s Construction LLC, 1369 W. Joseph Ave., Hermiston. Eddie Ford’s Janitorial, 1411 S. 32nd Ave., Yakima. Practical Dental Solutions LLC, 687 Grosscup Blvd. Infinity Green Landscaping LLC, 119 S. Conway Place. Sherlock Homes Improvement LLC, 1037 N. 60th Ave. Vertner’s Roof Repair, 3502 Fargo St. Nomad Group LLC, 509 Austin Drive. Oasis Lawn Care and Construction Inc., 6725 W. Clearwater Ave., Kennewick. Jimenez Revive Painting LLC, 1023 S. Fifth Ave., Pasco. Any Weather Exteriors LLC, 8114 Cochran Road NE, Moses Lake. Desert Sunrise LLC, 5821 Washougal Lane, Pasco. Lewis and Clark Irrigation LLC, 101904 Wiser Parkway. Proterra Pest Control of Tri-Cities LLC, 6201 W. Clearwater Ave., Kennewick. Networking Development Professionals LLC, 531 S. 38th Ave.

uJUDGMENTS The state can file lawsuits against people or businesses that do not pay taxes and then get a judgment against property that person or business owns. Judgments are filed in Benton-Franklin Superior Court. The following is from the Franklin County Superior Court Clerk’s Office.

ABC Multiple LLC, unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 3. Rocia Garcia Juarez et. al., unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 3. Daniel J. Holt et. al., unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 3. Dominick Armando Galvez, unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 3. Eastern WA Construction, unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 3.

Arnold Molina, unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 10. Eastern WA Construction, unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 10. Terry Cissne, unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 18. Ridgeview Farms LLC, unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 18. La Princesa et. al., unpaid Department of Revenue taxes, filed Nov. 23. El Tacoyote LLC, unpaid Department of Revenue taxes, filed Nov. 23. P J R Construction, unpaid Department of Revenue taxes, filed Nov. 23. Garcia’s Rock, unpaid Department of Revenue taxes, filed Nov. 23. Luna Quality Painting LLC, unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 30. Carlos Luna Salazar, unpaid Department of Labor and Industries taxes, filed Nov. 30.

uLIQUOR LICENSES BENTON COUNTY APPLICATIONS Wine Social, 702 The Parkway, Ste. B, Richland. License type: direct shipment receiver-in WA only; off premises; tavern-beer/wine. Application type: added/change of class/in lieu. Ara Sushi & Grill, 430 George Washington Way, Richland. License type: beer/wine restaurant-beer/ wine. Application type: new. Pacific Pasta & Grill, 603 Goethals Drive, Richland. License type: beer/wine restaurant-beer/wine. Application type: new. Taco Jose, 1400 Bombing Range Road, SPC B, West Richland. License type: beer/wine restaurantbeer. Application type: new. Comfort Suites, 3703 Plaza Way, Kennewick. License type: License type: direct shipment receiver-in WA only; beer/wine specialty shop. Application type: new. Jeremy’s 1896 Public House, 1232 Wine Country Road, Prosser. License type: direct shipment receiver-in WA only; spirit/beer/wine restaurant lounge+. Application type: assumption. Upsidedown Wine, 34809 N. Schumacher PR, Benton City. License type: domestic winery <250,000 liters. Application type: new. La Bella Vita Kitchen & Bar, 1515 George Washington Way, Richland. License type: spirit/beer/wine restaurant lounge+. Application type: new.

Airfield Estates Winery, 560 Merlot Drive, Prosser. License type: domestic winery <250,000 liters. Application type: change of corporate officer. Holly Jean’s Ice Cream, 626 N. 61st Ave., West Richland. License type: beer/wine gift delivery. Application type: new. DISCONTINUED McKinley Springs, 357 Port Ave., Ste. E, Prosser. License type: domestic winery <250,000 liters. Application type: discontinued. Refresco, 10 E. Bruneau Ave., Ste. 2, Kennewick. License type: domestic winery <250,000 liters. Application type: discontinued. Roxboro Vineyards, 590 Merlot Drive, Ste. B, Prosser. License type: domestic winery < 250,000 additional location. Application type: discontinued. Young’s Market Company of Washington, 6420 W. John Day Ave. #B, Kennewick. Application type: wine distributor. Application type: discontinued. Chapala Express II, 321 N. Columbia Center Blvd. #A, Kennewick. Application type: direct shipment receiver-in WA only. Application type: discontinued.

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FRANKLIN COUNTY APPLICATIONS Dollar General Store #22071, 182 E. Hawthorn St., Connell. License type: grocery store-beer/wine. Application type: new. Pasco Golfland, 2901 Road 40, Pasco. License type: snack bar. Application type: assumption. Basin City Hot Spot LLC, 7380 Road 170, Mesa. License type: grocery store-beer/wine. Application type: new.

uMARIJUANA LICENSES BENTON COUNTY APPROVED Green Point, 32508 W. Kelly Road, Ste. A, Benton City. License type: marijuana producer tier 2. Application type: change of corporate officer.

uBUSINESS UPDATES CLOSED Unity Yoga of Tri-Cities, 610 The Parkway, Richland.

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TRI-CITIES AREA JOURNAL OF BUSINESS | DECEMBER 2020

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Journal of Business - December 2020  

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